Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Brass Monkey Balls

Sault Saint Marie, Michigan

The museum ship Valley Camp was once used by Republic Steel to carry taconite and iron ore on the Great Lakes. Taconite  is a low grade of iron ore (less than 15%) interspersed with chert, quartz or carbonate.

This piece of misinformation is hanging in the crew quarters. It sounds implausible.


Wikipedia and the Brass Monkey Story:
It is often stated that the phrase originated from the use of a brass tray, called a "monkey", to hold cannonballs on warships in the 16th to 18th centuries. Supposedly, in very cold temperatures the "monkey" would contract, causing the balls to fall off However, nearly all historians and etymologists consider this story to be a myth. This story has been discredited by the U.S. Department of the Navy,[ etymologist Michael Quinion, and the Oxford English Dictionary They give five main reasons:
  1. The record does not record the term "monkey" or "brass monkey" being used in this way.
  1. The purported method of storage of cannonballs ("round shot") is simply false. Shot was not stored on deck continuously on the off-chance that the ship might go into battle. Indeed, decks were kept as clear as possible.
  1. Furthermore, such a method of storage would result in shot rolling around on deck and causing a hazard in high seas. Shot was stored on the gun or spar decks, in shot racks—longitudinal wooden planks with holes bored into them, known as shot garlands in the Royal Navy, into which round shot were inserted for ready use by the gun crew.
  1. Shot was not left exposed to the elements where it could rust. Such rust could lead to the ball not flying true or jamming in the barrel and exploding the gun. Indeed, gunners would attempt to remove as many imperfections as possible from the surfaces of balls.
  1. The physics does not stand up to scrutiny. The contraction of both balls and plate over the range of temperatures involved would not be particularly large. The effect claimed possibly could be reproduced under laboratory conditions with objects engineered to a high precision for this purpose, but it is unlikely it would ever have occurred in real life aboard a warship.

It's Sunday in Sault St. Marie so we hit a bookstore, buy some box wine and find a Walmart to buy some Glucosamine in the hope of alleviating the slight pain in my right knee.

A happy find later that day is Pickles Bar and Grill which has excellent Whitefish Tacos.

Pickles has a great view of Lake Michigan. It is about 6 miles west of Brimley State Park.

In Michigan we spend two days each in:
  • Sterling State Park
  • Bay City State Park
  • Tawas Point State Park
  • Wilderness State Park
  • Brimley State Park

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