Defining Horsepower for Your Daily Commute

Back in the eighteenth century, it was customary for farmers, miners and other industries to use horses to perform acts of manual labor. Horses were powerful workers that could be trained to do various tasks. They did have their limitations though. Like all living things, horses got old and weak, sick and tired. They needed breaks to eat and drink and sleep.

James Watt had created a superior steam engine to those on the market. He attempted to sell his new invention but didn't see a lot of success. Mine owners and farmers didn't feel motivated to switch from horses to an unknown machine. Watt wanted a way to prove to his potential customers that purchasing his steam engine would save them time and eventually, money. He decided to create a unit of measurement that would prove that his machine was effective and efficient.

After watching work horses in a coal mine, Watt determined that a horse could move 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute. He named this unit of measurement the horsepower and started using it to market his engines. This new measurement was a huge success and has become a standard unit of measurement for engine performance ever since. To discover more about horsepower, visit BMW of Des Moines in Urbandale, IA.

 
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