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Free Lesson on Chinese Technology

21 August 2011

ancient Chinese toothbrush

It is well documented in the West that the toothbrush was invented by Chinese during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). But it is false. Why? Because the toothbrush handle exhibited at Chengdu Chinese Medicine Museum (成都中药博物馆) was proven to be made by people of the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Cleaning teeth with toothbrush became popular among Chinese since a thousand years ago. Classic romance novels depicting daily affairs of Song and Ming people often made some reference to this oral hygiene activity as a necessary warm up exercise before a close physical contact. Chinese Buddhist monks of Song era were also seen by amazed alien travelers to brush their teeth with horse-tail hair brush (Shobogenzo by Gogen Kigen, 1223).

ancient Chinese bamboo salt water pipeline

If a toothbrush is an invention too small to talk about, then the structure shown in the picture above should definitely deserve a mention, particularly when you consider it was made with bamboos and bamboos only, and was made for the transportation of salt water produced using natural gas.

The photo was taken in 1915 in Zigong (自贡), Sichuan Province.

a Chinese robot making noodle

If you dismiss the Chinese tech genius as past events, you are not really fair to today's people in China. Evidently Chinese were only dull and silly and looked ugly (with pigtail hairdo and tube shaped dress) during a short time span of 267 years (comparing to China's 5,000 years long civilization) when they were suppressed under alien Manchus.

We're not here talking about a new space program China is going to launch or a new aircraft carrier that just returned to the port from the South China Sea. We just tell a tale of a humble noodle store in Shijiazhuang (石家庄), the capital of Hebei Province, that sells noodles with fried sauce in a high tech fashion.

As you can see in the picture the eatery is only big enough to accommodate three staff members working there: a waitress/cashier and her husband who cooks the noodle and a big headed alien who makes the noodle at a speed of one bowl per 20 seconds. The business is booming.

The secret to the noodle couple's success? Being inclusive of the alien and its technology but do not allow it to hijack the business and rule their lives.

(Photo: 丁立新 -

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