The first printed periodical, the Kaiyuan Za Bao was made available in AD 713.

However, the earliest known book printed at regular size is the Diamond Sutra made during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), a 5.18 m (17 ft) long scroll which bears the date 868 AD.

A bronze Chinese crossbow trigger mechanism with a butt plate (the wooden components have since eroded and disappeared), inlaid with silver, from either the late Warring States period (403–256 BC) or the early Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) This includes the Four Great Inventions: papermaking, the compass, gunpowder, and printing (both woodblock and movable type).

With the navigational aid of the 11th century compass and ability to steer at high sea with the 1st century sternpost rudder, premodern Chinese sailors sailed as far as East Africa.

In water-powered clockworks, the premodern Chinese had used the escapement mechanism since the 8th century and the endless power-transmitting chain drive in the 11th century.

Although it is recorded that the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) court eunuch Cai Lun (50 AD – AD 121) invented the pulp papermaking process and established the use of new materials used in making paper, ancient padding and wrapping paper artifacts dating to the 2nd century BC have been found in China, the oldest example of pulp papermaking being a map from Fangmatan, Tianshui; by the 3rd century, paper as a writing medium was in widespread use, replacing traditional but more expensive writing mediums such as strips of bamboo rolled into threaded scrolls, strips of silk, wet clay tablets hardened later in a furnace, and wooden tablets.

The earliest known piece of paper with writing on it was discovered in the ruins of a Chinese watchtower at Tsakhortei, Alxa League, where Han Dynasty troops had deserted their position in AD 110 following a Xiongnu attack.

The historical region now known as China experienced a history involving mechanics, hydraulics and mathematics applied to horology, metallurgy, astronomy, agriculture, engineering, music theory, craftsmanship, naval architecture and warfare.

By the Warring States period (403–221 BC), inhabitants of the Warring States had advanced metallurgic technology, including the blast furnace and cupola furnace, while the finery forge and puddling process were known by the Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220).Scientific, mathematical or natural discoveries, changes in minor concepts of design or style and artistic innovations do not appear on the list.The following is a list of the Four Great Inventions—as designated by Joseph Needham (1900–1995), a British scientist, author and sinologist known for his research on the history of Chinese science and technology.The Chinese polymath Shen Kuo (1031–1095) of the Song Dynasty (960–1279) was the first to accurately describe both magnetic declination (in discerning true north) and the magnetic needle compass in his Dream Pool Essays of 1088, while the Song dynasty writer Zhu Yu (fl.12th century) was the first to mention use of the compass specifically for navigation at sea in his book published in 1119.Joseph Needham and Tsien Tsuen-hsuin write that the cutting and printing techniques used for the delicate calligraphy of the Diamond Sutra book are much more advanced and refined than the miniature dharani sutra printed earlier.