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Balls out


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#1 Red Socks

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 14:36

I keep on seeing posters apologising for using the expression balls out.
Please stop; there is no need, it is not, as you seem to asume, a testicular reference but a reference to the governors on steam engines.
These were a pair of iron balls which rotated above the safety valve , dependent on steam pressure and as the steam pressure went up, and the engine worked faster so the balls went up ,or out,hence ''Balls out'' for a machine which was working very hard, or at maximum revs.
As the ball reached there designated maximum so the safety valave would lift, the steam pressure reduce and the danger be averted.

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#2 alansart

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 14:43

Like this

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#3 Rockford

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 14:55

Interesting. Now explain "balls to the floor"...

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 15:56

People still avoid using such terms, or apologising for so doing, because they sound impolite

Same with cockup, which is apparently an old printing term. But I'd be surprised if the bulk of the population knows that

#5 kayemod

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 16:11

Originally posted by David McKinney

Same with cockup, which is apparently an old printing term. But I'd be surprised if the bulk of the population knows that


Think you're wrong there. I was a printer many years ago, first job on leaving school, and I never heard the term other than in the way that many people still use it today, ie "I've cocked things up" = made a mess of something, but I'm pretty certain that the term 'cock-up' originated in farming. If rain came at the wrong time during harvest, every bit of moisture leached goodness out of the stuff reducing it's value, and 'cocking-up' would have been a last resort, piling the cut hay in conical heaps with the tops smoothed, in an attempt to shed continuing rain. So the original meaning of the term "We've cocked it up", was trying to salvage something, making the best of a bad job. The meaning has changed over time of course, but I'm pretty sure that is the original derivation.

#6 Red Socks

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 16:16

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rockford
Interesting. Now explain "balls to the floor"... [/QUOTE

Dunno - suppose balls of the feet.

#7 TooTall

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 16:17

I don't think I've heard the term "balls to the floor" before. But, from what I understand, "balls to the wall" comes from aviation. The engine throttle lever or levers (depending on the number of engines) traditionally have round knobs at the end, "balls". To increase engine speed, the pilot moves the handles forward towards the instrument panel or firewall. So, to set full throttle the pilot would shove the "balls" to the fire"wall".

There, more useless trivia for your further enjoyment.

Kurt O.

#8 HistoricMustang

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 20:43

I do not want to even think about the Southern (USA) phrase "Balls to the Walls"....................... :smoking:

Lets accept these: http://www.urbandict...lls to the wall

Number 4 fits this thread.

Henry

#9 McGuire

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 22:50

Originally posted by TooTall
I don't think I've heard the term "balls to the floor" before. But, from what I understand, "balls to the wall" comes from aviation. The engine throttle lever or levers (depending on the number of engines) traditionally have round knobs at the end, "balls". To increase engine speed, the pilot moves the handles forward towards the instrument panel or firewall. So, to set full throttle the pilot would shove the "balls" to the fire"wall".

There, more useless trivia for your further enjoyment.

Kurt O.


Far as I know, The expression "balls to the wall" predates aviation and is in identical in meaning to "balls out" as explained above -- it refers to the weights on a steam engine's centrifgual governor.

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 23:06

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
I do not want to even think about the Southern (USA) phrase "Balls to the Walls"....................... :smoking:

Lets accept these: http://www.urbandict...lls to the wall

Number 4 fits this thread.


Hmmm... I like number 6, it makes sense:

A term referring to the rotating governors used on steam locomotives and related steam engines such as tractors. The brass balls acted as weights on the end of linkages, and rotated with the increase in RPM of the engine. As speeds rose, the balls swung outwards, rising on the linkages. At a pre-set height, the release valve would engage, lowering steam pressure and reining in the RPM to the allowable maximum. The balls rose towards the firewall and/or the walls of the cab., hence the term.


I don't think number 7 is worth considering...

#11 Terry Walker

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 01:48

Also "ball the jack" from railway parlance.

#12 Sharman

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 11:02

Centrifugal force or Centripetal force?

#13 McGuire

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 11:56

Originally posted by Sharman
Centrifugal force or Centripetal force?


centrifugal -- directed away from the center of rotation, exerted by the rotating mass on the object which effects the centripetal acceleration.

And at any rate, it is called a centrifugal governor. That is in fact its name -- for several hundred years now. And yes, it is apparently named after what may be called a "fictitious" force. Personally, that has never bothered me a great deal. How about you? :D

#14 D-Type

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:29

Originally posted by Sharman
Centrifugal force or Centripetal force?

It all depends on your frame of reference. The wheels of a turning car exert a centripetal force on the car making it turn into the corner (relative to the earth). A passenger in the car or a book on the parcel shelf feels a centrifugal force throwing it outwards (relative to the car).

Likewise the balls experience a centripetal force pulling them from straight and making them rotate. The balls exert a rotating, centrifugal, tensile force on the rod trying to lengthen it. As the rod is inclined thiscentrifugal force has a vertical component. This vertical component, which is neither centripetal or centrifugal as its line of action is rotating about its own axis, raises the sleeve that lets off steam.