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A little tidbit of Naval History


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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< /span>

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?

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And how many times have you heard of a luxurious item or circumstance described as posh?

 

This saying sprung from those traveling from Britian to India and back. This was a long voyage that was in the tropics most of the time. In the time before airconditioning, the shaded side of the ship was the most comfortable. The steamship companies realized this and charged a premium for cabins that were located in the shade which would be on the Port side Outbound and Starboard side Home.

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Cute!

 

But according to the United States Navy Historical Center, this is a legend of the sea without historical justification. The center has researched this because of the questions it gets and says the term "brass monkey" and a vulgar reference to the effect of cold on the monkey's extremities, appears to have originated in the book "Before the Mast" by C.A. Abbey. It was said that it was so cold that it would "freeze the tail off a brass monkey." The Navy says there is no evidence that the phrase had anything to do with ships or ships with cannon balls.

 

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

 

:-)

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Cute!

 

But according to the United States Navy Historical Center, this is a legend of the sea without historical justification. The center has researched this because of the questions it gets and says the term "brass monkey" and a vulgar reference to the effect of cold on the monkey's extremities, appears to have originated in the book "Before the Mast" by C.A. Abbey. It was said that it was so cold that it would "freeze the tail off a brass monkey." The Navy says there is no evidence that the phrase had anything to do with ships or ships with cannon balls.

 

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

 

:-)

 

ok ok. I believe you but it is not as funny as the fictional tale. :hysterical:

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ok ok. I believe you but it is not as funny as the fictional tale. :hysterical:

 

 

 

 

I have to agree! :hysterical:

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Guest markham51
Cute!

 

But according to the United States Navy Historical Center, this is a legend of the sea without historical justification. The center has researched this because of the questions it gets and says the term "brass monkey" and a vulgar reference to the effect of cold on the monkey's extremities, appears to have originated in the book "Before the Mast" by C.A. Abbey. It was said that it was so cold that it would "freeze the tail off a brass monkey." The Navy says there is no evidence that the phrase had anything to do with ships or ships with cannon balls.

 

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

 

:-)

 

 

Since this is an election year....I get to make "the truth" whatever it needs to be to fit my mood so....

 

I choose to believe rnoggles version! :hysterical:

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I'm pretty sure Jeffs version is pretty accurate. Mine is just some "scuttlebutt" passed on by a fellow retired sailor :lol:

 

And as with most things in our military history, there is a logical, accurate (sometimes), official version... and then there is the more entertaining, humorous version that gets passed down from the "old salt" to the "newbie"..... :beerchug:

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Speaking of balls..."Balls to the wall" also has an interesting meaning.

 

The origin of "balls to the wall" is thought to come from aircraft pilots who pushed their joysticks ("balls") into the full thrust position (i.e., "the wall"), thereby making the aircraft go as fast as possible (see also "pear-shaped").

 

Another theory suggests that marathon runners hit a figurative "wall" at the 18 mile mark.

 

And finally, the expression "balls to the wall" could simply be a clever rhyme. Take your pick...

 

http://www.yaelf.com/questions.shtml

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