Drinking Alcohol taught me how to fly
Then it took away the sky....

Thursday, March 15, 2012




In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was 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 or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations. However, 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 cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)



  1. I have heard this story before. You would not mislead me, so I know it must be true. :)

  2. interesting, did not realize that was the source of the story...was envisioning immasculated monkey statues an figured that is why you dont see so many monkey statues...smiles

  3. Cool- yes, I think I have heard this somewhere before, but thanks for a refresher :)

  4. TRUTH is I did not expect a single comment on this post.

    IZZY, we ALL need refreshers? Right? Maybe not about brass monkeys, though--grin!

    BRIAN, I could 'SEE' those smiles all the way down north--that's what we call South Florida, "Down North"!


    Hey, I did not realize there was such trust in Bloggerville. WOW! The pressure is ON, now I'll have to double-check my facts, since almost everything I think, say, or write comes from someone else.--grin!

  5. I love stuff like this. Can't wait to pass this story on.

  6. HAHAHAHAHA! Aaaaaaaah, okay, okay! I can now loudly say that, proud in my knowledge that it comes from historical fact. I don't care if the teachers and parents at the park give me a strange look. I'll just tell them my good friend Steve taught me that! Being in FL, I'm sure there's no shrinkage where you are, right? No balls rolling off your monkey, I'm sure. ;)

    Thanks for your comment, Mr. Roni. You are much too kind. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  7. Will the real monkeys be happy because something is named after them?

  8. BELLA, I will memory-smile most all of this day after reading your comment. YOU are too FUN-NEEE! (And nice!) Thank you

    RAINFIELD! Sir, you have great empathy, even to wonder how the monkeys feel. Maybe I should register an apology? Or at least a caveat?

    You got me thinking. I'll monkey around with these thoughts, OK?