September 7, 2011

H is for Horsepower

 Romania, 2011
It excites me that no matter how much machinery replaces the horse, the work it can do is still measured in horsepower.....even in this space age.  And although a riding horse often weighs half a ton, and a big drafter a full ton, either can be led about by a piece of string if he has been wisely trained. This to me is a constant source of wonder, and challenge.
     ~ Marguret Henry, American author (1902-1997)
 

A new morning... a new hard day for beasts of burden. For both man and his horse. And so it has been since the New Stone Age, roughly 10,000 years ago, when man transformed from forager to farmer.

[all photos can be enlarged with a click]

Then came the Industrial Revolution with its machinery. Since these new inventions often replaced the work of horses, it was considered useful to compare the output of machines with the power of draft horses.

Did you know that one horsepower equals 33,000 foot-pounds per minute? So it was determined by James Watt of the unit of power fame.
The story goes that Watt was working with ponies lifting coal at a coal mine, and he wanted a way to talk about the power available from one of these animals. He found that, on average, a mine pony could do 22,000 foot-pounds of work in a minute. He then increased that number by 50 percent and pegged the measurement of horsepower at 33,000 foot-pounds of work in one minute. It is that arbitrary unit of measure that has made its way down through the centuries and now appears on your car, your lawn mower, your chain saw and even in some cases your vacuum cleaner. [source: How Stuff Works]
To learn what other units horsepower are converted to, read here.

The letter of the week is H and this is my link for ABC Wednesday.

28 comments:

Tina said...

Nice shots :)

Nanka said...

Great shots in a beautiful place!! You shared some interesting bits of information!!

cieldequimper said...

Fantastic shots. Though I like Appaloosas a lot, shire horses are still my favourites. To think that they almost became extinct.

Interestingly, some small towns in France are now investing in horses rather than cars for city gardeners and such things. I think it's brilliant.

Also interesting to read about Watt and those ponies. Although I have a (strange) passion for coal mining, I didn't know...

Roger Owen Green said...

very astute observation about horsepower!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

capturedalive said...

This post packs a lot of horsepower punch !!

Pheno, ABCW Team

VioletSky said...

It is truly amazing how much horsepower is in a horse.

Kay L. Davies said...

Wonderful post, Francisca, and it does "give me to think".
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Leslie: said...

I just love your photos! I was at the fair last week and watched a team of 3 Clydesdales, one of which was new at being the leader on his own. They're fascinating to watch!

Leslie
abcw team

joo said...

I would recognize Romania even if you didn't sign the photos:)
Lovely post!

forgetmenot said...

Great post. Lovely shots and lots of interesting and informative informantion. Hard to believe that at one time, horses were the only source of power--they seemed to have "gotten the job done" though. Have a lovely week. Mickie :)

Kathy said...

Wonderful photos. They look like they came from another time.

Andrea said...

Hello Francisca, i'm back and posting again! We have a small, native horse when we were young so i learned to love horses. But whenever i see horses made to haul or carry heavy weights i pity them so much, also those in Binondo used in caleza, i sometimes hate the owner. Their mouths are already sometimes frothing and the owner doesn't give it water, my heart aches with those scenes.

Wanda said...

Just beautiful photo's of working horses.

chubskulit said...

Those are beautiful pictures Francisca. Our posts are somewhat related hehehe.

My ABC is about the only http://www.meetourclan.com/2011/09/horse-ride.html I can tolerate.

Kala said...

Wonderful photos and commentary!

jabblog said...

Beautiful photos of these wonderful animals. It's good to see them working though it's rare on farms these days.

Shooting Parrots said...

Evocative photos as ever and horses are much kinder to the environment, not to mention the roses!

photowannabe said...

Your photos make me feel like I'm in another time and another place. Beautiful. I especially like the first one. The lighting is stunning and accentuates the power of the horse.

Kaori said...

It's interesting because here in Japan, we call horsepower "Bariki(馬力)" which is exactly that, the kanji "horse" and "power." I guess it's an imported word that they just translated. Anyways, your photos of the powerful horses and the wagons are wonderful! They make me miss riding horses :D

Indrani said...

How well you have described the progress. Great shots of the wagons.

Gattina said...

You are the first I visit who has horses for H ! what a nice post !
Gattina
ABC team

Anita Johnson said...

Beautiful pictures...heading to bed, my horsepower is drained for the day! Interesting post!

Ann said...

I don't subscribe Sky or cable tv, but thye have a very funny ad which has a woman driving a lawn mower. she drives to Mongolia and they ask her how much is the red yak.

Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful photography dear Francisca,you are so talented!
This is a very interesting reportage, thanks for all information and I'm also enchanted by the lovely horses!
Hugs
Léia

EG Wow said...

I enjoyed reading this post. Well written!

JM said...

How beautiful! My favourite shot is #2. Fantastic!

Carola said...

Wonderful post!
Do you work in journalism?

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This is such a neat way to learn. I've used 'how stuff works' before, but it is more fun with your great pictures.