brass monkeys

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brass monkeys

Post by maico886 » Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:07 pm

It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near the cannon
on war ships. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck was
the problem. The best storage method devised was to stack them as a
square based pyramid, with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on
nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be
stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one problem --
how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others.
The solution was a metal plate with 16 round indentations, called a Monkey.
But if this plate was made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it.
The solution to the rusting problem was to make Brass Monkeys.
Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster
than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far,
the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls
would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, cold enough to
freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And all this time, you thought that was a
vulgar _expression, didn't you? :D

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Post by Mauveduh » Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:18 pm

Another one of those sayings that we've all heard but didn't know how it got started! Except I haven't heard that one. I'll have to try it out. LOL

OK, you had me going but is that a true story? I was waiting for you to say that the pool table triangle was invented from that.
You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.--Mark Twain

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Post by webwriter » Thu Apr 01, 2004 5:26 am

Fascinating stuff. Do tell!

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Post by cisin238rxy » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:10 pm


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