Where Did the Term Horsepower Originate?

Horsepower, also known as HP, is a unit of measurement that shows the power of an engine. The term horsepower was created in the 18th century by inventor and engineer James Watt. Watt wanted to sell his new and improved steam engines to coal miners. However, the coal miners were quite satisfied with the work load that their draft horses were already doing in the mines. The owners didn't see the need for the new steam engine. They had also seen inferior work done by previous models of the steam engine and weren't willing to take a chance on another.

Watt had to prove to these mine owners that his steam engine was greatly improved over previous models and could equal or top the work done by the horses. To help prove his point to the miners, Watt devised a plan. He figured if he could correctly judge the amount of work done by the draft horses, he could compare that to his steam engine.

Watt kept track of the workload done by the draft horses in the mines. He decided that one draft horse could haul 33,000 pounds of coal a distance of a foot in 60 seconds. He called this unit of measurement the horsepower.

Watt's plan worked. He was able to show coal mine owners the benefits of his new steam engine and he began to make sales. He had so much success that his competitors also adopted the use of the word horsepower in their advertisements.

Today we still hear about horsepower every time we discuss the power of a particular engine. To learn more about modern day horsepower, contact our Toyota sales team in Lodi, CA.

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