1 definition by Larry Grosfield

Top Definition
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.
The Union Pacific Freight roared across the Kansas night, balls to the wall.
#figure of speech #idling #full throttle #balls to wall #expressions
av Larry Grosfield 29 maj 2008
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