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What is Torque?

What is Torque?

Posted by Gary Fitzhugh / CDI Torque Products on Jul 19th 2019


According to Webster

Torque:  A twisting or wrenching effect exerted by a force acting at a distance on a body, equal to the force multiplied by the perpendicular distance between the line of action of the force and the center of rotation at which it is exerted.

Simply put:  Torque is the measurement of rotational force.


The concept of torque originated with the studies of Archimedes on levers. Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer.


                            The Archimedes Screw

The word ‘torque’ was coined by the ancient Romans, which in Latin was a twisted, spiral shaped gold or bronze neck ring.  These neck rings were worn by the Celts as a good luck charm for going into battle.

The Great Torque, from Norfolk, England. Made of eight 'ropes' twisted together, each 'rope' has eight strands of gold.

Origin of the Foot Pound (ft. lb.)

The ancient Romans used the human foot as the basis of the unit of measure. The Roman libra, meaning scales or weight, is the derivation of the abbreviation “lb.” for pound.

Invention of the Torque Wrench

The flat beam torque wrench was invented by Conrad Bahr in 1918 while working for the New York City Water Department. He designed it to prevent over tightening the bolts on water mains and steam pipe fittings underground.