The first known seismographer was developed in China in 132 A.D. The beautiful and ornate design carved by the famed Chinese inventor, poet, and astronomer Zhang Heng, was able to detect earthquakes over 500 km away.
Zhang Heng’s design featured a large bowl with a sensitive pendulum inside and eight dragons on the outside. A seismographic event would trigger a reaction that ended in a marble falling from the mouth of one of the dragons into the mouth of a frog seated below. While the invention wasn’t able to predict earthquakes, it could sense them from miles away and register the direction of the event so that help could be sent to earthquakes victims.
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Photo Credits / Sources:
By State Post Bureau of the People’s Republic of China (http://jeff560.tripod.com/stamps.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons