Subject: Historical Fact -
Did you know:
It was necessary to keep a good supply
of canon balls near the cannon on 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 was made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The
solution to the rusting problem was to make Brass Monkeys.
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?