Horsepower: Learn the Origin and Definition

It's impossible to talk about cars these days without the word 'horsepower' being brought up. It always comes up, but not too many people know exactly what it means and fewer know where it came from. Surprisingly, both the meaning and the origin are entwined together.

In the 18th century when steam engines were beginning to take off, inventor James Watt decided to take a new approach to trying to sell steam engines. Watt observed ponies working in a coal mine and through his observations, deduced that on average a pony produced 22,000 foot-pounds of power per minute. Figuring his engines were stronger than ponies, he increased that number by 50% resulting in 33,000 which would serve as the measure of horsepower. So a single unit of horsepower is equal to a pony pulling 33 pounds of coal for one minute. Come see our auto sales experts in Odessa, TX for more horsepower information.

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