Originally Posted by Berolzheimer
I stand corrected. I always though it strange, anyhow, since as far a I've always heard Germans have a long standing reputation for building things well.
Jury rigging (or jerry rigging) refers to makeshift repairs or substitutes, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand.
On sailing ships, the jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of loss of the original mast.
There are these theories about the origin of the term “jury” in this sense:
- A Latin and Old French root meaning “aid” or “succour”.
- “jury-mast” derived from “injury-mast”.
- From French du jour = “of the day”, thus `temporary’.
- Some believe that “jerry-rig” comes from “Jerry”, slang for “German”, but this is an inaccurate folk etymology.
While ships typically carried a number of spare parts such as topmasts, the lower masts, at up to one meter in diameter, were too large to carry spares. So a jury mast could be various things. Contemporary drawings and paintings show a wide variety of jury rigs, attesting to the creativity of sailors faced with the need to save their ships.