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An Ancient Chinese Invention - The Compass

Last History Assignment 2013

Liam Ting

on 27 June 2013

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Transcript of An Ancient Chinese Invention - The Compass

An Ancient Chinese Invention
In Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, animals are more connected to nature than humans.
“They bunched up skittish; when the last cow had run into the little herd, they stood for a moment staring at the windmills and corral and the men beside the truck. Then they took off, south in a steady, travelling gait… ‘the way back to Mexico’… they were always moving south” (pg 72-73).
The Compass - A great and diverse invention. Used by many around the world and is as easy to use as counting 1, 2, 3! But haven't you ever wondered who invented it, a device so great, that it would change the world in many ways; why the compass was needed, was it for building, direction; how the device works, from the complexity inside to the ease of use on the outside; materials in its construction, was there any metals, any glass; and did the creator(s) know what impact or future legacy their invention may hold. Well, here are all the answers...
by Liam Ting 7.14 2013
Who created the compass? - A device so wonderful

Although many still argue, most scientists have come to the conclusion that the compass was probably invented around 3rd Century to 1st century but, no one is quite sure who invented the compass. It is still a mystery...
So, why was the compass even needed back then?

The 'ancient' compass was primarily used for Feng Shui and geomancy uses. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art that pretty much tells you how to live a healthy and prosperous life. It wasn't until around the 15th Century AD, where Zheng He (1371 - 1435 AD) who lived to sail seven ocean voyages, that the compass was first used as a navigational tool.
What materials where needed to create the compass?

Most early compasses, where made out of a special mineral magnetite called lodestone. lodestone is a natural magnet which will always be aligned with the Earth's magnetic field, essentially being a compass. The lodestone was usually formed into a spoon-like shape or a ladle and it was put upon a flat, square shaped bronze plate. The handle of the spoon always pointed south, earning its name of "The South Pointer". It wasn't until a little bit later in time, was the magnetized needles invented, in the place of lodestone. It was invented in the 8th Century AD in China.

Now, how does it actually work?

The Ancient Compass has a spoon shaped or a ladle piece of lodestone in the center of a square slab of bronze. There is a large sort of circle in the center where the lodestone sits and this represents the Heavens. The lodestone will always automatically align itself with the Earth's magnetic field with the handle of the spoon pointing south. The lodestone represents the Great Bear Constellation, also known as Ursa Major.
- The Compass
What impact has the compass had on the world since?

The invention of the compass has really changed technology over hundreds of years. With out the compass, we might not of ever found a way to direct others or even find our way. We wouldn't have satellites or broadcast television, radio or planes. So, without the compasses invention, we might not have the privileged lives we have today.
What future legacy would the compass have?

Things about the Compass.
It is used by many everyday.
It is so easy to use.
It has been modified so much, that it is used nearly everywhere, everyday.
The Evolution of the Compass
http://inventors.about.com/od/cstartinventions/a/Compass.htm (19 - 26/6/2013)
http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/education/tutorials/museum/chinesecompass.html (19 - 26/6/2013)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compass (24 - 26/6/2013)
http://www.chinesecompass.org/history_of_the_chinese_compass.html (24 - 26/6/2013
http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_aboutchina/2003-09/24/content_26519.htm (24 - 26/6/2013)
http://www.legacyofchina.cn/en/zggdfms.asp?id=2 (25 - 26/6/2013)
http://www.smith.edu/hsc/museum/ancient_inventions/compass2.html (26/6/13)

How does the Modern Day Compass Work and what's the difference?

Nowadays, the compass is so much easier to use. If you have a phone, all you need to do is open up the application and the rest is done for you. This is a little bit similar but, also different in many ways.
The Compass Venn Diagram
Square Shaped
Round Shaped
Both have
something that aligns itself with the Earth's magnetic field being it, the lodestone or a magnetic needle
Modern Day Compass
Has a spoon shaped object or ladle piece in the center
Has N, S, E, W
Markings represent constellations
Used for mainly navigation purposes
Used mainly for Feng Shui
Magnetic Needle
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