Discussion in 'VMBB General Discussion' started by rooter, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Jan 31, 2001
    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su

    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? You must send this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to
    at least a few uneducated friends.
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