I just can't let you go on believing that one ....Think about the coefficients of expansion, too small a change to make much of a difference in any depressions made deep enough to keep the balls from rolling off as the ship rocked.
BTW, I've got a pair of those Chinese Balls in a nice little brocade cloth covered "jewelry box", but frankly they've never done much for me.
I suspect that they were originally two hollow hemispherical castings brazed together, but nowadays they probably use stampings.
(clip) Chinese iron balls with the chimes inside (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^ I don't believe the part about the Chinese balls having chimes inside, either. I think those balls make a nice clinking sound because they are hard metal.
Q: Who thought up the expression, "It's cold enough to freeze the balls off a pawnshop?"
Don Bruder wrote in news:v9iJc.2337$ firstname.lastname@example.org:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAghhhhh I can't stand the misinformation. Ben wah's or Bo ding's as they are sometimes called are made for hand excersises. They were used by monk's fpr meditation a long time ago, and emperors' and high court eople used them for entertainment, "not Sexual". Now as to how they were made pieces of metal were rolled between two hot plates of steel amd the first ones did not have matal chimes in them. Much later people figured out how too make hollow ones with small plates that chimed and were still able to roll them to heat the weld together and making it smooth. The process haas tso pieces with a wierd lip the chimes are put in and they are heated unitl red, then rolled bewtween two hot plates to smooth, round off and seal. By the way I found this by GOOGLing and I own like five sets that come with little booklets that have info.
Virtually every sailing ship in the 1700-1800s had cannons for protection. Cannons of the times required round iron cannonballs. The Ship's Master usually wanted to store the cannonballs such that they could be of instant use when needed, yet not roll around the gun deck. The solution was to stack them up in a square-based pyramid next to the cannon. The top level of the stack had one ball, the next level down had four, the next had nine, the next had sixteen, and so on. Four levels would provide a stack of 30 cannonballs. The only real problem was how to keep the bottom level from sliding out from under the weight of the higher levels. To do this, they devised a small brass plate called, of course a brass monkey, with 16 round indentations, one for each cannonball, in the bottom layer. Brass was used because the cannonballs wouldn't rust to the brass monkey, but would rust to an iron one. When temperature falls, brass contracts in size faster than iron. As it got cold on the gun decks, the indentations in the brass monkey would get smaller than the iron cannonballs they were holding. If the temperature got cold enough, the bottom layer would pop out of the indentations spilling the entire pyramid over the deck.
Thus it was, quite literally, "It Was Cold Enough to Freeze the Balls Off a Brass Monkey!"
Most of the ones I have look like they were created by placing a design using copper wire on a hollow ball and filling the areas with plastic. At that point some surface grinding would be necessary.
I have several pair of these retrieved from Hong kong. They do have chimes inside. (They make noise when you shake one.)
They also are good for exercising the fingers. It is best to start with the smaller size and work up to something more substantial. One should be able to rotate the two balls in either direction (smoothly) in one hand without banging the balls together.
On my last trip I bought two solid marble balls in Melbourne that are about three inches in diameter. Anyone who thinks you don't exercise the fingers should try these. I use them every day and after about five minutes the muscles in the forearm will let you know that they are getting exercised. It took a while to be able to handle this larger size. They also had solid steel balls about the same size. I passed on those and now regret that decision.
I don't believe anyone would use these where the sun don't shine.
||> From Google: || ||> Virtually every sailing ship in the 1700-1800s had cannons for protection. || ||Somebody already posted here in this thread, but since you appearently ||didn't read it, here it is again: ||
|| ||And for those that don't bother to follow links. It is FALSE!!!
If it's on the internet, how can it be false???
"It's true, I read it on the internet last night" Texas Parts Guy
Now use Google to find the coeficient of expansion for brass and work out just how much change in size there will be on that brass plate there will be when going from plus 100 deg F to minus 35 deg F. Do same calcs for iron (the cannonballs), as they will be subject to the same temp. as the "monkey", contrary to the claim above.
Well, you might not believe it, but they do have chimes inside. It is little coil spring gong with one end welded to the inside of the ball half. A steel ball about 3/8" dia, is also put (loose) in before the other ball half is welded or brazed on. Shaking the ball makes the steel ball strike the gong, producing a melodious note.
Ships master wanted the shot as low in the ship as possible at all times, not laying around a gundeck - 30 cannonballs would weigh between 180 and
960lbs per gun.... On a ship of the line you'd have about 35-110 tonnes of weight exactly where you didn't want it, especially when the guns where run out. A ship of the line usually didn't carry 30 round shot per gun of the larger calbre, One 32 pounder could penetrate 3' solid oak after a 1000ft flat tragectory, or 2000ft with a skip off the surface. After half a dozen bradsides like that usually one or other ship wasn't there any more, or if it was not many guns where still firing.
Stacking round shot on gun decks would also create the danger of their breaking free and rolling around loose on deck whenever the ship encountered rough water, which for the Brits was often. It's a lot more likely these things would roll off through motion than any supposed different in thermal expansion.
Cast Iron doen't rust that much, and if the idea of brass was to stop the shot rusting to an iron plate then why wouldn't the shot in the tiers above rust to each other? The ships 'cleared decks' when gunnery took place, which meant knocking out partitions, dropping hammocks or what ever it took to give enough space for the six men in the gun crew to move around it and for the guns aiming and recoil. No room what so ever for neat piles of cannonshot and a cannon and crew. The other reason for clearing the decks was to reduce the materials that an inbound shot might hit and splinter around the inside of a gundeck. For this reason powder was only bought up when needed.
'Immediate use' is a bit off too, since even the best Brit crews fired once every 90 seconds or so. The French and Spanish every 2-2 1/2 minuites. Shot and powder where bought up from the locker's and a few (usually half a dozen) ready-use shot of a variety of types where stored on the gundecks in wooden racks. Heavier shot where carried up in bowsers. No monkeys here, other than the kids doing the carrying. A gun crew would change shot type several times in an exchange of fire so 30 round shot where not needed.
HMS Victory and Greenwich used to have an educational piece as part of the tour, according to them a 'Brass Monkey' was a small brass cannon from the time of transition from bronze to iron, usually swivel mounted that used stone ball or cylinder shot, both of inconsistent size and shape. 'Freezing a brass monkey' either refered to the cannon shrinking enough that *some* shot wouldn't fit so slowing the reload, or 'Freezing the tail off a brass monkey' was the tail being the handle at the end of the gun used for aiming which reportedly broke when levering a piece around on the pivot.
Another story is apparently pawn brokers where originally known as brass monkeys and the three brass balls hung outside the shop has something to do with the idea, \\
A line remembered from my high school days...."Meet me in front of the pawnshop Honey, and you can kiss me under the balls".
On a soberer note, The Medici families in Italy were moneylenders in Europe. Lengend has it that one of the Medicis in the employ of Emperor Charles the Great fought a giant and slew him with three sacks of rocks. The three balls or globes later became part of their family crest, and ultimately, the sign of pawnbroking.
Even if the brass did shrink so much the balls were not even close to the same size. I suppose, if ball bearings were used some shrinkage might dislodge them. But if the depressions had any kind of a rounded edge, and you can bet nobody is going to place cannon balls carefully enough to avoid this, the balls would just ride up onto the rounded edge. I can imagine some old salt making this up and telling it to wide eyed boys. ERS