The small electric motors found in fractional horsepower engines commonly measure ½ horsepower or ¼ horsepower. FHP electric motors typically work in the same way as larger electric motors, either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC), and although they’ve been around since the early 1900s, it was the rise of consumerism after World War II that saw these small motors firmly embedded in modern lifestyles. Measurements of ½ and ¼ may not sound impressive when compared to car and boat motors, but FHP motors are actually the most common size of electric motors made today.
The largest markets for fractional horsepower motors are in the accessories side of the automotive industry, such as electric seats and wing mirrors, and in the countless domestic appliances like vacuum cleaners, pumps, and blenders etc. which are scattered around our houses. These all rely on miniature motors to help us achieve the tasks which make our chores and activities more convenient and enjoyable. While these small fractional horsepower motors are certainly not a high-performance vehicle parked in your driveway or a luxury speedboat docked in the marina, they are still a very useful part of our everyday lives.