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The British Newspaper Archive

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Balls off a Brass monkey

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Running Bear

Running Bear Report 23 Jun 2008 11:01

well i like Colins version, and that will do for me

Staffs Col

Staffs Col Report 23 Jun 2008 10:51

Hmm correct Eldrick, if you read my post it does say 'the story goes' I dont claim it to be fact. Some historians believe it is factual others disagree some even say the saying comes from the pawnbrokers balls that would often be shown with a monkey on the signage

Eldrick

Eldrick Report 23 Jun 2008 10:36

Sorry and all that jazz....


http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/brass.asp

Staffs Col

Staffs Col Report 23 Jun 2008 10:17

lol....a head full of useless information and trivia more like

Running Bear

Running Bear Report 23 Jun 2008 10:16

Hi thats right Staff Col, just googled it.

The origin and true meaning of this phrase is actually totally unrelated to any form of animal or its testicles. Back in time to the period of the Napoleonic War, the great gunships of this time carried many cannons on various gun decks. As an efficient method of storage and delivery of cannon balls to the cannon for firing, a "Monkey" (this term is used to define a table and/ or a rail) made of brass was used to hold the balls. In very cold temperatures the brass would contract or even break thus allowing the cannon balls to roll off the Monkey onto the gun deck. Hence the sailors would say "it is cold enough to freeze the balls off a Brass Monkey".
Fortunately for ourselves the public perception of this name is closely related to the bits that fit into underwear and it's use as a brand name is accepted as being inherently funny.

Staffs Col

Staffs Col Report 23 Jun 2008 10:12

The story goes that cannonballs used to be stored aboard ship in piles, on a brass frame or tray called a 'monkey'. In very cold weather the brass would contract, spilling the cannonballs: hence very cold weather is 'cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey'

Running Bear

Running Bear Report 23 Jun 2008 10:08

old saying,

"cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey"

where do they all come from?