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"The Monkey and the Cold..."

3 years 6 months 3 weeks ago March 03, 2013 Mar 3, 2013 Sunday, March 03 2013 March 03, 2013 3:00 AM in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

Saturday's column posted unusual weather expressions and a questionable one today. Early war ships were equipped with stacked iron cannon balls. A means of stacking 30 cannon balls in a squared "pyramid" configuration with 16 balls on the bottom to one on top was devised. It saved space, however the ship's movement sent the balls rolling over the deck and sometimes overboard. The solution was a metal plate called a "Monkey" that included 16 round indentations. To prevent the iron balls from rusting, the "Monkey" was made of brass that contracts faster than iron in cold weather. The brass indentations shrunk when the temperature dropped and the cannonballs would lift off the "Monkey." Thus the expression,"its cold enough to freeze the (expletive deleted) off the Brass Monkey."

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