zozatky

Member
Cannon Balls


CANNON BALLS!!! 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 a major 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.

Answer

The solution was a metal plate with 16 round dimples, called, for reasons unknown, a Monkey. But if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls quickly rusted to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make the plates of brass - hence, Brass Monkeys.

Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts more, and more rapidly 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 it was just a vulgar expression, didn't you? You must send this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to at least a few uneducated friends.
 

Peregrine

Member
Cannon Balls
you've been reading "Ask Jeeves" again havn't you.

tip - dont believe everything you read on the internet
 

barry budd

QPR MAN
Cannon Balls
Old cannons were set into the ground with the barrell pointing up,
then a cannon ball was set into the end half way
these you can find all over the city of london,
there called bollards,
most date back to tudor times,
watch out for imitations these will have a square base
famous words by micheal cain

not many people know that.
:wow:
 

Flipflop

Member
Cannon Balls
Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey sheds some light on this phrase - in brief, saying the cannon balls would be 'stacked' in a plank with holes - not in a pyramid, so the saying really is a myth.....and it gives some techhy stuff about temperature co-efficients to prove it too.

That site explains a lot of common phrases - useful to debunk anyone in a pub one night if they go off on one about the origin of things....
 

barry budd

QPR MAN
Cannon Balls
Old cannons were set into the ground with the barrell pointing up,
then a cannon ball was set into the end half way
these you can find all over the city of london,
there called bollards,
most date back to tudor times,
watch out for imitations these will have a square base
famous words by micheal cain

not many people know that.
:wow:
True
 

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