Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

PostBy: Freddy On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:29 am

stoker-man wrote:I was 7th in line. They were out straight.

Will you translate that into Pennsylvania English?



Back in the good ol' days before electronics and all that associated junk, I'm talking way back when people were smart and burned coal..... automobile engines had basic mechanical ignition systems. They had a coil to make spark, a distributor to send that spark to a given spark plug, and a centrifugal timing advance system. When an engine is idling, the timing of when the spark plug sparks must be later than when the engine is running wide open. Inside the distributor the centrifugal system had two brass balls on little arms held down with a spring. As the engine sped up, the weight of the balls would make them swing out closer to the wall of the distributor. This action cause the distributor to turn, thus changing the timing. When the engine was at half speed, the brass balls would be at a 45 degree angle to the shaft and the timing would be halfway advanced toward full speed position. When the engine reached full speed the balls would be 90 degrees, or straight out from the shaft and the timing would be fully advanced. At this point the brass balls would be all the way out to the wall of the distributor. This is where the expression "Right straight out" came from. It means "full speed". This is also where the other slang came from that means the same thing: "Balls to the wall." (I know of nothing of frost on said balls or where other expressions may have gotten their starts.) :)
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:41 am

Huh... I've heard the expression "balls out" too which means going fast.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Uglysquirrel On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:37 am

With respect to Richard's comment, how about, in a similar way, "Balls to the wall" ?

I need to know where this came from to help be grow as a Yankee.
Uglysquirrel
 
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono


Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Mike Wilson On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:51 am

As a pilot, I can tell you that "Balls to the Wall" is just c.o.ckpit slang for full speed. It's a reference to the fact that throttle handles have balls on top of them, and to advance to full speed, they are pushed all the way forward, until the balls hit the wall, the instrument panel. Some planes have separate throttles and fuel mixture handles, both of which have balls on top, and all of which are pushed to the wall when advancing the engines to full speed.

That's my understanding of the history of the term... but I'm sure there are 14 other groups that will all claim it as theirs as well.

-- Mike

PS - wow, the site software *censored* the word c.o.ckpit... pretty overambitious. I guess we can't talk about c.o.ckfighting or $extants either :?
Last edited by Mike Wilson on Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Mike Wilson
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker 90 DV
Stove/Furnace Model: Jøtul Kennebec Wood Insert

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Freddy On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:49 am

Learn sumthin' every day! I have seen with my own eyes an automobile distributor with brass balls and my dad told me the story, but a Google search does mention aircraft. Hmmmm.... which came first? The Ford car or jet aircraft?
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:01 am

Mike Wilson wrote:PS - wow, the site software *censored* the word *censored*... pretty overambitious. I guess we can't talk about *censored* or $extants either :?


I forget exactly how to do it but there is a setting you can change in your "user controls" that will turn off that censorship feature.
Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:37 am

Mike Wilson wrote:PS - wow, the site software *censored* the word *censored*... pretty overambitious. I guess we can't talk about *censored* or $extants either :?


The word censor can be turned off in your profile, that particular word was set as a wildcard so any word with that string of characters would trip the filter. Changed it so that won't happen and added your derivative for getting around filter. :lol: You can PM if there are other words you find that should not be censored and I'll adjust the filter to accommodate them.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:44 pm

Mike, that is the same explaination for the phrase 'balls to the wall' that I have heard.. there are many aviation related versions.. one is 'radar power'.. often the weather radar screen is directly in front of the throttle quadrant, so when the power levers/mixture/prop controls are full forward they are up against the radar screen, hence 'Radar Power'..

I should start a topic in the 'off topic forum' for phrases and their origins.

Greg L.

.
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: Mike Wilson On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:12 pm

Yes, Radar Power is another one, same idea... we also used "Put it Through the Glass" to mean the same thing. One that I always used, 20 years ago and before I had any inkling of what a Keystoker was, or why I would ever want one in my house, was "MORE COAL!!!" I always thought it was somewhat funny to call for more coal while sitting in an aircraft, flying at altitude, or just rolling down the runway. Hell, I still use it now on the boat when I'm pushing the diesel throttle forward. Who knew, maybe it was a premonition of things to come!
Mike Wilson
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker 90 DV
Stove/Furnace Model: Jøtul Kennebec Wood Insert

Re: Is Harman giving people the shaft?

PostBy: tsb On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Mike

I have a friend that was Marine test and United pilot. He always said the
two words you don't want to hear form a pilot are " watch this".

TSB
tsb
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Binford 2000
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Pioneer top vent
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Saey Hanover II

Re: Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:05 pm

Another aviation related 'term'... When training for a takeoff and having an engine fail just after 'decision speed' and having to continue the takeoff and climbout on only one engine..
Well this can be rather nerve-racking and you need to do things right to get the most performance out of the aerodynamics of the airplane, so you actually do gain altitude and clear obsticles.

So when you finally reach a safe altitude, where you are above all obsticles and you will survive... what do you call that altitude??

Many of us call this 'cushion release altitude'... for this is the altitude at which your butt cheeks relax and release their death-grip on the seat cushion. :D

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

PostBy: franknbaum On: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:46 am

The origin is from steam engine cetrifugal governers. A shaft with brass balls on lever arms would spin with engine speed as speed increases the balls pivot out and upwards operating a lever arm that closes the steam aperature (throttle) to the engine, so it will not over rev. Straight out is when the balls are at there furthest point away from the center rotating shaft. On early steam cars the governor was to the rear of the engine by the firewall, when the engine was at max speed the balls came close to the firewall thus 'balls to the wall'
franknbaum
 
Stove/Furnace Make: alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: channing III

Re: Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:27 am

WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
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Re: Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

PostBy: samhill On: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:02 am

I have to agree with franknbalm, I actually got to run a few old steam tractors & thats what I was taught to guesstamate how much torque you were using. Those old things didn`t have any gauges to speak of & part of the time you wouldn`t be able to see it if there was one. Which brings up another question, why don`t some of these smart type people consider going back to steam power. I`m sure it could be modernized & theres not much that produces more power. I drove a Stanley Steamer & was totally impressed with the raw power. Steering & brakeing left a lot to be desired but Stanleys did hold the worlds speed record (I believe) for quite some time. It used very little fuel was super quiet & just put out H20. A little off this subject but just thinking to myself so I thought I`d put it out there.
Thanks
samhill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: keystoker 160
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 75 in garage
Stove/Furnace Make: keystoker/hitzer
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Re: Origin of "Out Straight", "Balls to the Wall" & "Balls Out"

PostBy: Steve.N On: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:56 pm

According to this site balls out was a navel term meaning the steam govnor was fast as it would go but balls to the wall came from aviation

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Last edited by Richard S. on Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: <removed dead link>
Steve.N
 
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