The Origins of Horsepower

Horsepower is a common unit of measurement in the car industry. It is also used to sell vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and anything else with an engine. It was originally developed as a marketing tool to sell steam engines to coal mine owners.

James Watt was an inventor and marketing genius. He had developed an efficient new steam engine that could replace horses in the coal mines. He needed a way to convince mine owners to try his new engines. He decided to develop a formula that could concretely compare the engine to the average work horse. After close monitoring and calculations, Watt determined that the average horse could haul 33,000 pounds of coal one foot in a minute. With this new unit of measurement, he could show the capacity of his new engine to his customers.

Watt was so successful in this marketing that competitors also started using the term to sell their engines. Over time, horsepower became a standard unit of measurement for engines in a variety of industries. Today, we still use the horsepower to measure engines. Visit Autohaus BMW here in Saint Louis, MO to learn more about horsepower.

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