Word of the Day

Drag the tiles to make one word. When they link together, they are correct. Word Of The Day Puzzle provided by Quote Puzzler.

To find the meaning of the obscure word you just created, go to www.dictionary.com.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Brass Monkeys

(Sorry I've been such a slacker about posting lately! Here's a neat one my dad sent me.)

Cannon Balls
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 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 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 a vulgar expression didn't you? You must send this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to at least a few and unsuspecting friends.

2 comments:

My Boaz's Ruth said...

Snopes.com says... FALSE
http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/brass.asp

It's as vulgar as it sounds like.

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