[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Fw: Cannon Balls

Just received this.   It also is an explanation for a misunderstood phrase,
it seems.  I liked the Bobby explanation.  Wonder whether that is the

> In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried
> iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was
> to keep a good supply near the cannon, but prevent them from rolling about
> the deck.
> The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball
> top, resting on four, resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a
> supply of thirty cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next
> 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 called
> a "Monkey," with sixteen round indentations. 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
> when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the
> indentations would shrink so much that the cannon balls would come right
> the monkey.
> Thus, it was quite literally, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass
> monkey"!
> (And all this time, you have had dirty thoughts, haven't you?) You must
> this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to at least seventeen
> friends (or enemies) within thirteen and one half seconds. If you don't,
> your floppy is going to fall off your hard drive and kill your mouse.
> Don't send it back to me. I've already seen it.

[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@quarterman.org
[ To get off or on the list, see http://sinclair.quarterman.org/list.html