DID YOU KNOW THIS?
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 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=2 0from
under the others.
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.
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, folks thought that was just a vulgar expression?
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