The Machines of Ancient China — Part 3/4

October 29, 2010

More evidence has been discovered that the Chinese had a long history using geared machines.

Beautiful, engraved jade rings were found in tombs dated back to 400 BC. 

After studying the elaborately designed rings, archeologists believe the only way to produce this precision was by using a machine—a device known as a compound machine is one that synchronizes rotational with linear motion.

Over thousands of years, these technological innovations traveled from east to west along the Silk Route.

In fact, there is an archeological site in China that provides solid evidence of the abilities of China’s ancient engineers and craftsmen.

The first emperor of China’s Terra Cotta army is that evidence.

Located near Xian, it is considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the ancient world.

Over eight thousand human sized statues were created by Chinese engineers and craftsmen to protect Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi more than twenty-two hundred years ago.

These Terra Cotta warriors were armed with over ten thousand bronze weapons—the exact weapons used in combat. Amazing as it sounds, these weapons were coated with chromium, which wasn’t developed in the West until the 1930s.

It is believed that these warriors and their weapons were mass-produced in factories that match today’s modern factories.

The most impressive discoveries were the emperor’s full-scale chariots made of gold, silver and bronze. During the Qin Dynasty, the Chinese had established high standards for metallurgy and metal production.

The methods used to build these chariots were highly advanced and are still in use today.

Return to the Machines of Ancient China – Part 2 or to discover more inventions see With or Without Paper


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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