There was herringbone gear in the early years of the Eastern Han Dynasty (ad first Century). In the Three Kingdoms period, guideway cars and Kei Li drum cars have adopted gear transmission systems. The water diversion mill invented by Du in the Jin Dynasty passed the power of the water wheel to the stone mill through the gear. The earliest record of the gear transmission system in history is a description of the water transport instrument made by Liang Lingzan in the Tang Dynasty and in 725. In the Northern Song Dynasty, the waterborne instrument Observatory (ancient Chinese timer) used complex gear systems. In the Ming Dynasty Mao Yuan Yi wrote a gear rack transmission device in Wu Bei Zhi (written in 1621).
In the ruins of the ancient city of Hebei, excavated in 1956, the iron spines were found, with a diameter of about 80 millimeters. Although they were incomplete, the iron quality was better. After study, it was recognized as the product of the late Warring States period (third Century B.C.) to the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. 24 B.C.). Bronze spur gear was excavated at 1954 in Yongji County, Shanxi province. Referring to the utensils excavated from the same pit, it can be concluded that the remains of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 206 BC) or the early Western Han Dynasty were 40 teeth in diameter and 25 millimeters in diameter. The use of the spear gear has not been documented so far, and is presumed to be used for braking to prevent wheel axle reversing. A pair of bronze herringbone gears unearthed in Hongqing village, Changan County, Shaanxi Province, 1953. According to the analysis of tomb structure and tombs, it is believed that the pair of gears originated from the early Eastern Han Dynasty. Both wheels are 24 teeth, with a diameter of about 15 millimeters. The same type of spur gear has been found in Hengyang and other places.