Rain Gauge

A half-full rain gauge in a garden
ZenShui/Sigrid Olsson / Getty Images

One source has is that the son of King Sejong the Great, a member of the Choson Dynasty who reigned from 1418 to 1450, invented the first rain gauge. King Sejong sought ways to improve agricultural technology to provide his subjects with adequate food and clothing.

Korean Inventions

In improving agricultural technology, Sejong contributed to the sciences of astronomy and meteorology. He invented an alphabet and calendar for the Korean people and ordered the development of accurate clocks. When droughts plagued the kingdom, King Sejong directed every village to measure the amount of rainfall.

His son, the crown prince, later called King Munjong, inherited Sejon's innovation. Munjong invented a rain gauge while measuring rainfall at the palace. He decided that, instead of digging into the earth to check rain levels, it would be better to use a standardized container. King Sejong sent a rain gauge to every village, and they were used as an official tool to measure the farmer's potential harvest. Sejong also used these measurements to determine what the farmer's land taxes should be. The rain gauge was invented in the fourth month of 1441, two hundred years before inventor Christopher Wren created a rain gauge (tipping bucket rain gauge ca. 1662) in Europe.