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Author Topic:   Brass Monkey

Posts: 194
From: Camino Calif (yeah, it does snow here)
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-28-2003 11:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 69_sportsroof   Click Here to Email 69_sportsroof     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Subject: Navy History:

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships, and many freighters
iron cannons. Those cannon fired round iron cannon balls.

It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. But how to
them from rolling about the deck?

The best storage method devised was to stack them as a square based
with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on nine, which rested
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
would shrink so much, that the iron cannon balls would come right off

Thus, it was quite literally, Cold enough to freeze the balls off a

All this time, you thought was an improper __expression, didn't you?

Now, you must send this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to at
least one
person, who's life will be ultimately enriched by the knowledge.

If you fail to do so, your floppy is going to fall off your hard
drive and
kill your mouse.

.....proudly keeping the neighbors mad for over 30 years
Run what ya brung, and hope like hell ya brung enough
69 sportsroof(351 C)
65 Ranchero(200)now 351W
72 Ln 700 (361)

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Posts: 2054
From: Sucat, Paranaque, Philippines
Registered: Jul 99

posted 12-01-2003 06:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastback68   Click Here to Email Fastback68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ooo, England expects that every man do his duty! So I have to tell you all that the above story is an urban legend, origin unknown, as is the actual origin of the expression.
The term "monkey" was used for a range of things in naval history, but no such monkey as described above ever existed

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