Why Did Horsepower Become the Measure of Power That it is Today?

When you walk into your car dealership to buy a car, one of the factors you consider is how much horsepower the vehicle has. This is a measure of how fast and powerful your vehicle is going to be. We take it for granted that it will always be powerful enough to be available at all times.

The story of how the term came to be is very interesting. In the 18th century, the famous inventor, James Watt was searching for a way to promote his powerful steam engines. One day he was studying ponies hauling coal from a coal mine, and he calculated that they could move 22,000 foot-pounds per minute. He then extrapolated a bit and judged that a horse could move 33,000 foot-pounds in a minute.

Since the horse was the primary method of transportation of the day, Watt assumed that this would be a unit of measure that the people would understand. They understood, and we still understand it today. If you’re interested to see modern horsepower in person, be sure to rely on our staff at Budd Baer Mazda for proper guidance!

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