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 the problem. The 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
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 -
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.
it was quite literally, cold enough to freeze the balls off a
And all this time, folks thought that was just a vulgar
You must send this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to at
least a few intellectual friends.