'Balls to the wall'


Veteran Member
Nov 13, 2011
I've been watching a show called 'DOGFIGHTS' lately. Apparently it used to appear on the History Channel but now it is being shown on one of the broadcast sub-channels in my area. Very fascinating show! In one episode the moderator used the expression "balls to the wall" and I thought: That's a little unexpected for broadcast TV. I have always thought that phrase referred to the obvious anatomical bits. I guess I need to study more military history because the narrator went on to explain that when the balls on top of the throttle levers were pushed all the way forward (toward the firewall, I guess), the pilots called it 'balls to the wall'. I will now consider the phrase 100% socially acceptable. I bet a lot of you already know this, but I did not. Live and learn...


Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Aug 14, 2008
if you liked them then, you may like this. This is from a few years ago and was pretty darn good.



Veteran Member
Aug 13, 2017
Caledonia, MI
This refers to the governor on a steam engine. Two heavy balls are attached to the engine so that as engine speed increases, the centrifigal force of the flywheel causes the balls to rise. As the balls top out, they govern (limit) the engine, thereby controlling maximum engine speed. "Balls out," then, refers to running the engine at maximum speed.
The engineer was running the train at a "balls out" pace while trying to make up time.

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