View Full Version : How cold is it?

01-07-2002, 07:47 PM
Subject: How Cold is it??

In the heyday of the sailing ship, every ship had
to have cannons for protection. Cannon of the times required round iron cannon balls. The master wanted to store the cannon balls in such a way that they could be of instant use when needed, yet not roll around the gun deck.

The solution was to stack them in a square based
pyramid next to the cannon. The top level of the stack had one ball, the next level down had four, the next had nine, the next had 16, and so on. Four levels would provide a stack of 30 cannon balls. The only real problem was how to keep the bottom level from sliding out from under the weight of the higher levels. To do this, they devised a small plate (monkey) with one rounded indentation for each cannon ball in the bottom layer.

When iron was used to make this plate(“monkey&#8221 images/icons/wink.gif ,
the cannon balls would rust to the plate.

As a result, these plates were made of brass to
prevent this problem thus the name “brass monkey.” When temperature falls, brass contracts in size faster than iron. As it got cold on the gun decks, the indentations in the brass monkey would get smaller than the iron cannon balls they
were holding. If the temperature got cold enough, the bottom layer would pop out of the indentations spilling the entire pyramid over the deck.

Thus it was, quite literally, “COLD ENOUGH TO
FREEZE THE BALLS OFF A BRASS MONKEY.” And all this time some of you thought we were talking dirty. images/icons/tongue.gif

01-07-2002, 08:48 PM
That is a true story. I'm glad that somebody else knows of it. "Not enough room to swing a cat" also originated on Royal Navy sailing vessels, referring to the fact that below decks were cramped, with not enough room to swing the cat o'nine tails when administering a flogging. That is why the offenders were flogged on deck, whatever the weather. graemlins/hammer.gif

01-08-2002, 02:01 AM
But what is that in Farenheit? graemlins/lol.gif

01-08-2002, 07:12 PM
Cold enough to make Packer fans put on two coats of paint!!!