Re: Horsepower (was Re: Metric Time (was Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique))

Phil Gustafson (
18 Oct 1995 22:29:54 -0400

Jacques Guy <> wrote:

>Much later, I read (I think it was in New Scientist), that
>a horse has a power closer to 12hp, early automotive
>manufacturers having deliberately grossly underrated a
>horse's strength to sell their wares.

Except that a horsepower is, according to the OED, "commonly taken
(after Watt) as = 550 foot-pounds persecond (which is about 1 1/2
times the actual power of a horse)." Unless it was taken a
century or so after Watt, it had nothing to do with cars.

No, it doesn't say whether it's 1 1/2 Shetland ponies or 1 1/2 great
snorting Percherons.

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