The Reason Behind The Name Given To Horse Power

The rate of power at which work gets done is referred to as horse power. In the automotive world, it is the rate at which mechanical energy is utilized to make a vehicle move. The question here is that why this unit of power is called so. What is the thing that the name is related to that of a horse? Don’t you find it strange? If this question has ever run down your head, then you are at the right place.

Why Horse Power Is Called What It Is Called?

There is a reason behind everything. In fact there is a reason behind your name too. Same goes to horse power! Here is an idea into why horse power is given this strange name.

1. In The Words Of Thomas Savery

When the steam engines first came into being, it became evident to compare the output of horse with that of the engine. This is when Thomas Savery came with a theory! He said that if an engine that raises water as much as two horses do for a specific job requires a lot more force of horses to keep the job going. If the engine is crafted to be large enough in first place, one can do away with the large work force horses in turn.

This idea was further explained and simplified by James Watt, to promote the new steam engine. What did he have to say, read on to find out.

Horse Power and its role
History of Horse Power. Source:

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2. The Theory Of James Watt

The James Watt theory stated that a horse could rotate the mill wheel 44 times in the time frame of 60 minutes. The horse power came out to be 33,000 ft-lbf/minute. In simple terms, a horse could lift 330 pounds of coal for about 100 feet in 60 seconds. This estimation was further equated to “one horsepower.” He came up with a formula that compared the horse power with that of the engine’s capability.

Watt did so as the reluctant people refused to give up on horses and embrace the new steam engines. This calculation proved to be beneficial in promoting the new and better steam engines.

3. The Brewer Demand

When first of the Watt’s customers, a brewer asked him to deliver an engine that would match the strongest and the best of his horses, the “horse power,” unit came into being. Watt being Watt accepted the challenge and went to deliver an engine that was much stronger than the brewer’s horse. Further, the output of the newly created machine formed the basis of the unit horsepower.

So, a simple answer to the question reflects in comparing the engines’ capability in terms of a horses’ power. It is that simple and easy! Any machine that is capable of undergoing 33000ft-pound of work per minute is said to have 1hp (horse power). Wish to know the how can you increase he gas mileage? If yes, then refer to maintenance tips for more information.

Horse power name history
Theory of horse power. Source: ScoopWhoop

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These are the interesting theories behind horse power being called so. Having a look at historical inventions and events, it is amazing how steam engines have transformed into those fast bullet trains. Now, that is a great evolution!