After searching through the archive under the tag , history, horsepower and horsepower history I didn't see this question asked but where and why do we use "horse" in the term horsepower when an engine's power is mechanical? Was the term horsepower created to come engine performance versus the power of a horse?

  • Back when the automobile was called the horseless carriage there needed to be a way to compare the power of an actual carriage to a horseless one. Hence the horsepower comparison was born.
    – vini_i
    Mar 21, 2017 at 16:41
  • 1
    Not sure how much stock you put in Wikipedia but - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsepower#History_of_the_unit
    – Zshoulders
    Mar 21, 2017 at 16:56
  • 5
    Although this is an intriguing question, I'm voting to close it as off-topic because it is not related to the maintenance and repair of motor vehicles and their accessories.
    – CharlieRB
    Mar 21, 2017 at 18:28
  • 1
    I think it goes back to the dawn of steam engines as they started to be used to replace horses : ploughing, water pumping etc. However, I do think I have to agree with @CharlieRB on all counts.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 21, 2017 at 18:46
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not related to repair of motor vehicles and their accessories.
    – anonymous2
    Mar 29, 2017 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


The origin of the word horsepower comes literally from the horse and buggy days. 1 horse pulling a load of 330 lbs of coal or whatever 100 feet above ground in 1 minute generated 1 horsepower.

1 Hp= 330lbs X 100 Ft / 1 minute

33,000 foot-pounds per minute.

With the advent of electrical power the equivalent power was stated in watts or kilowatts.

1 Hp= 745.7 watts or .7457 Kw.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .