Until 1400 AD, China was a scientifically and technologically advanced nation and a superpower. Believe it or not, many of the tools we use today were discovered or invented by Chinese. Here is a list of 15 such things.
Paper is one of the most wonderful inventions of China. Before the invention of paper people used to write on bamboo slips and silks. Tsai-lung (48-118 AD) an official of Imperial Court during the Eastern Han Dynasty was the creator of first paper in the world by drying pulp from bark, mulberry fibers, old rags and hemp. However according to a recent archeological discovery near Dunhuang, paper had been used for wrapping and padding in China since the 2nd century BC. They used paper as a writing medium by the 3rd century and by the 6th century they began using toilet-paper. Chinese were the first people to preserve the flavor of tea in square bags which were made from the folded and sewn paper during 618-907 AD, Tang Dynasty. The technique of paper making was slowly spread. It reached the Central Asia by 750 AD and Europe in the 14th century.
Chinese used printing pattern on the cloths before 220 AD. Woodblock printing on a paper is a process in which the individual sheets of paper were pressed into wooden blocks with the text and illustrations carved into them. This technique was first used by Koreans in 751 AD.
The first movable type system (made of clay) was invented by Bi Sheng in China around 1040 AD. Later, movable wooden type was developed by Wang Zhen by the late 13th century.
Chinese were the first to recognize sulfur and saltpeter as essential ingredients for gun powder. Though many people wrote about the inflammable mixtures during 300-650 AD, some historians claim that the invention of gunpowder was dated at 850 AD. However the true gunpowder formula was first published in the history by Tseng Kung-Liang around 1040 AD.