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Pattress Plates and Other Names

February 16, 2013

I think the round detail on this brick building on King Street is a very ornate example of a pattress plate, also known as anchor plate, wall washer or earthquake washer (or earthquake bolt). Apparently also known as star anchor, triangular washer, S-iron or T-head, depending on the shape of the plate. (Could also be known as 45 minutes of internet searching using countless combinations involving the words architecture, brick, steel, old to finally find what these things are called.) Pattress plates were threaded onto the ends of the long iron rods that went side to side in 18th- and 19th-century brick or masonry buildings for structural reinforcement. I’ve seen more basic versions often enough around Toronto on large commercial buildings; on this smaller early 20th-century building, the more stylized plate might be more decorative than functional.

*After David‘s comment on a recent post, I think this might be a fire alarm gong cover. Still, I’m happy to have learned all about pattress plates!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2013 12:46 pm

    Very interesting detail! Also, the other aged, classical mouldings on that building are spectacular.

    • March 3, 2013 10:13 am

      That’s what caught my eye initially–so many different details so close together and yet the building looks harmonious overall.

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