# watt

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**Convert**
between watts and kilowatts and other major units of power.

The unit of power in SI. Symbol, W (no period).

Power is a rate, the rate at which energy is expended or work done. The watt
is defined as “the power which in one second gives rise to energy of 1
joule” (Resolution 2 of the CIPM,
1946, ratified by the Ninth
CGPM in 1948). In mechanical terms, a
power of 1 watt can, in 1 second, move a mass of 1 kilogram through a distance
of 1 meter with such force that the kilogram's velocity at the end of the meter
will be 1 meter per second greater than it was at the beginning. In an electric
circuit, 1 watt is a current of 1 ampere at a pressure of 1 volt.

The watt's dimensions are (L²M)/T^{3} — joules per second,
or in terms of base units,

The watt was introduced at the Second International Congress of Electricians
(Paris, 1889), where it was defined as 10^{7}
ergs per second. (The same conference introduced the
joule, defining it as 10^{7} ergs.)

The watt is named for James Watt (1736-1819),
inventor of the condensing steam engine.

## sources

For an excellent history of the development of the electric and magnetic units up to 1913, see U. S. Bureau of Standards Circular 60.

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Last revised: 5 September 2003.