Horsepower: A Measure Developed in The 18th Century


For some reason, customers often walk into the dealership believing that horsepower refers to the number of horses you would need to get a particular type of engine power. This is not a very accurate definition of what horsepower actually is.

Horsepower is a measurement developed by James Watt, an 18th-century inventor, who developed steam engine designs. He created this comparison to try and explain to investors the value of his designs. It dawned on him one day as he was watching ponies work at a coal mine. His engineering mind estimated that it took the average pony about 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute, so he compared this work per minute to the same work per minute of the steam engine which was about 50 times faster. It was a measure that quickly impressed his customers and investors, and ever since, has been used to measure the power of engines.

How does horsepower work itself into a determining factor when you're buying a new car. It comes down to multiplication. A car of 1 horsepower would be able to pull 33 pounds per minute, 10 horsepower 330 pounds, and so on and so forth. So, the higher the horsepower, the more strength the car has.

Need a better explanation? Come by Hyundai of Brenham, and we will be happy to share more of the story.
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