Posted by Bob on August 10, 2002
In Reply to: Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey posted by Bob on August 09, 2002
: : : : This refers to the brass balls displayed by pawnbrokers - they aparently also used to have a brass monkey above them - cold weather would force the welding to snap.
: : : I don't think so - it does not tie in with reality at any point other than the brass balls.
: : Type in Brass Monkey in the Search box at the top for an extensive, invigourating and non agreed set of origins of the phrase!
: ::: Cannon balls on-board british ships, which were made of iron, were stored for use on a 'monkey'. The monkey was made of brass to combat corrosion. When sailing through different temperature regions, especially cold regions, the brass & iron contracted & expanded at differing rates & the monkey would warp, causing the balls to fall off.
Actually, no. It's a charming tale, but it doesn't hold up to close examination. See previous posts.
See also: the meaning and origin of 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey'.