RS Warrior Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CANNON BALLS!!!


DID YOU KNOW THIS ? I DIDN'T

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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,779 Posts
SmaShitUp(mike7202) said:

I think snopes might have this one wrong... When I lived in Michiganmy family and I visited the Soo Locks and the museum there. It was many many years ago but I could've swore they actually had a tier of a brass monkey. Plus I believe most ships had their cannons below the deck not on top like snopes says. Also when your at sea, the humidity alone (condenses causing morning dew)could cause a bare metal cannon ball to rust even if it's not outside or on deck plus the salt fromt he sea can't help either.


just my 2 cents.........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,600 Posts
I don't know, I'd say Snopes got it right. Having lived on a military ship I think the concept the storypresents seems highly unlikely. Even now due to the risk of things being jolted and tossed about at sea, ammunition and all missiles and so forth are ussually made ready as needed and not sooner. I would imagine cannonballswere normally kept somewhere safer where they can be maintained and oiled occassionally and that wouldn't happen right onthe deck.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top