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  • Cannon balls

    Naval History.......

    CANNON BALLS

    It was necessary to keep a good supply of cannon balls near
    the cannon on old 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, for reasons
    unknown, a Monkey. But if this plate were made of iron, the
    iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the
    rusting problem was to make them of brass - hence, 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 just a vulgar expression, didn't you?

  • #2
    Cute story. Shame it isn't true.

    http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/brass.asp
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_m..._expression%29

    Back to the vulgar expression bit again.

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