Meet James Watt - the Inventor of the Horsepower Unit

Horsepower is a word that gets thrown in discussions all the time. What’s most astonishing is that most people don’t actually know what the word means. For the sake of enlightening unknowing drivers, let’s explore the origins and the exact meaning of the word, horsepower.

Before the invention of automobiles, owning a horse was a prestigious thing and it was even a measure of one’s wealth and status in the society. In the late 18th century, James Watt, a visionary inventor and a smart entrepreneur developed the steam engine. James Watt is on record as having first used the word, horsepower. He coined up the name to denote the strength of his new inventions.

Watt argued that whereas a single pony had the capability of hauling approximately 22,000 foot-pounds per minute, his revolutionary steam engines were able to haul loads weighing 33,000 pounds per minute. Watt reckoned that it was simpler for his would-be customers to relate to the unit of measure is already accustomed to using ponies to ferry their wares to and from. And, alas! His bet was spot on, and people have known a unit horsepower to be equal to 33,000 foot-pounds per minute, ever since.

Today, the auto industry is awash with machines boasting of horsepower capabilities many times over the ponies used in Watt’s age. And there are varying levels of tremendous horsepower belonging to new Toyota models here at Lake Charles Toyota!

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