It has often been claimed that a "brass monkey" was a holder or storage rack in which cannon balls (or shot) were stacked on a ship. Supposedly when the "monkey" with its stack of cannon ball became cold, the contraction of iron cannon balls led to the balls falling through or off of the "monkey." This explanation is a UL without historical justification. In actuality, ready service shot was kept on the gun or spar decks in racks, called shot garlands, which consisted of longitudinal wooden planks with holes bored into them, into which round shot were inserted for ready use by the gun crew. These shot garlands are discussed in C. Nepean Longridge. The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships. (Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 1981), page 64. A top view of shot garlands on the upper deck of a ship-of-the-line is depicted in The Visual Dictionary of Ships and Sailing. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1991), page 17.
-------------------- Ad astra per asparagus. Posts: 4806 | From: Groton, CT | Registered: Jul 2005
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I remember reading that the first recorded references to freezing brass monkeys were to ther tails, not their balls.
-------------------- Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before ... he is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr Posts: 134 | From: New Zealand | Registered: Jul 2005
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