Miles Per Hour - History & Definition
1 mile per hour is the speed you travel at to cover a distance of 1 mile in a time of 1 hour
Miles per hour is a common unit of speed in the Imperial system of units used in the UK and the USA. Previously this system was used in all the major English speaking nations of the world (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), although it was replaced with metric system in most countries during the second half of the twentieth century.
Miles per hour first came into common usage with the regular stage coaches in the 18th century, as running the stages on time required a timetable. In the early 19th century with the advent of the railroads speeds became significantly higher, though at one time many people thought that all the passengers would asphyxiate if the trains went at over 20 mph. This myth was quickly dispelled as trains were soon travelling at 50mph and above and the passengers were surviving the experience.
Even at the start of the 20th century there was still a fear of mechanical vehicles travelling at high speed as with the introduction of the automobile speed limits were overly restrictive in some countries. For instance in the United Kingdom automobiles were restricted to 4mph for a number of years and had to be proceeded by a man walking with a flag.
Some Speed Records in Miles Per Hour
- Land Speed Record - Thrust SSC (UK) - 763.035 mph
- Electric Powered Land Speed Record - Buckeye Bullet (US) - 321.83 mph
- Motorcylce Land Speed Record - Top Oil Ack Attack (US) - 376.363 mph
- Rail Speed Record - SNCF TGV POS (F) - 357.18 mph
- Maglev Speed Record - JR-Maglev MLX01 (J) - 361.01 mph
- Water Speed Record - Spirit of Australia (AUS) - 317.596 mph
See our kilometres per hour page for the speed records in kph