Posted by Andy on March 13, 2005
Balls to the wall refers back much further than WWII. It also refers the safety mechanism attached to stationary steam engines used to regulate the pressure that determined the maximum speed of the engine. When operating at full speed the balls would be flung out as far as they could go - to the wall, whilst momentarilly releiving pressure to the engine. Hence, the fastest the machine would run was at that speed when governed by the regulator with it's balls to the wall.