Although an ancient hematite artifact from the Olmec era in Mexico dating to roughly 1000 BC indicates the possible use of the lodestone compass long before it was described in China, the Olmecs did not have iron which the Chinese would discover could be magnetised by contact with lodestone.  Descriptions of lodestone attracting iron were made in the Guanzi , Master Lu's Spring and Autumn Annals and Huainanzi .    The Chinese by the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) began using north-south oriented lodestone ladle-and-bowl shaped compasses for divination and geomancy and not yet for navigation .    The Lunheng , written by Wang Chong (27 – c. 100 AD) stated in chapter 52: "This instrument resembles a spoon and when it is placed on a plate on the ground, the handle points to the south".   There are, however, another two references under chapter 47 of the same text to the attractive power of a magnet according to Needham (1986),  but Li Shu-hua (1954) considers it to be lodestone, and states that there is no explicit mention of a magnet in Lunheng .  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 author 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.        Even before this, however, the Wujing Zongyao military manuscript compiled by 1044 described a thermoremanence compass of heated iron or steel shaped as a fish and placed in a bowl of water which produced a weak magnetic force via remanence and induction; the Wujing Zongyao recorded that it was used as a pathfinder along with the mechanical south-pointing chariot .  
The GDR was also famous for its bureaucratic nomenclature. Coffins for example were named Erdmöbel (literally: ground furniture), or the term Sättigungsbeilage (literally: Well it is difficult to translate, really. It would be something like "a filling side dish", and means stuff like potatoes, dumplings or rice as a supplement to a proper meal  ). Even more hilarious were the words they invented for religious stuff, like Frühjahrsschokoladenhohlkörper (hollow chocolate article of spring - a chocolate easter bunny) and Jahresendflügelpuppe (winged doll of the year's end - a christmas angel for the christmas tree and the like). The reason: Religion wasn't verboten in the GDR, but the ruling people didn't like it too much either.
This sequence of inventions and applications was closely bound up with the availability of cheap fuel, yet another element of the early modern economy that came to full development during the industrial revolution. Coal had long been known as a fuel, but contemporaries disliked its smoke and smell. By the mid-seventeenth century, however, Britons had little choice but to make use of it, for the country was running short of wood and it was becoming too expensive to use as fuel for even the basic needs of heating, let alone for novel industrial uses. The enormous size of seventeenth-century London, over half a million people within easy reach of cheap water transport, and its insatiable demand for fuel ensured that coal mining could be profitable even in the face of technological obstacles. As mines became deeper, for instance, there was the problem of removing the water that seeped into them — the problem that steam-driven pumps eventually answered. Steam-driven vehicles and carts that moved along rails (radically reducing friction) were first employed in the British coal fields as well. The economics of coal-mining made even the inefficiencies of early steam power acceptable; operating in the coal fields themselves, the first steam engines had a readily available supply of cheap fuel and could even use some of the waste from the mining process. With a fully developed coal-mining industry, and increasingly sophisticated means of using the energy that coal contained, Britain suddenly increased its supply of power many times over. The historian Kenneth Pomeranz has argued that only with this step did Europe move clearly ahead of Asian technology, setting the stage for Europe's domination of the world economy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This interpretation probably understates the significance of other differences, but it accurately captures an important aspect of the industrial revolution: during the eighteenth century, Britain acquired a seemingly limitless supply of power.