The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China:

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Cambridge University Press, 1978 - History - 352 pages
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Digesting the main sections of Volume IV of Dr. Needham's magnum opus, this book is concerned with the immense advances made in early and medieval China in mechanical engineering. It discusses in simple but eminently readable terms the status of engineers, their tools and materials, then basic mechanical principles, followed by machinery powered by animals, man and even by steam, vehicles for land transport, six centuries of hidden clockwork, windmills and aeronautics. Since China was far ahead of the West in ancient and medieval times, this volume helps make clear the immense debt owed by Western civilization to the Chinese. Such debts included the important mechanical principles of transforming rotary motion to a to-and-fro motion of a crank and vice-versa. They invented the first efficient harness for horses and the first mechanical clocks.
 

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Science and Civilization in China (1954–2008) is a series of 27 books by Joseph Needham dealing with the history of science and technology in China. Since 1954, Needham and an international team of ... Read full review

Contents

Basic mechanical principles
39
Mechanical toys and machines described in Chinese works
101
Vehicles for land transport and design of an efficient horse
155
six hidden centuries
220
Vertical and horizontal mountings windmills and aeronautics
267
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About the author (1978)

Joseph Needham FRS (1900-1995) was the founder of the Science and Civilisation in China project.