Period House Shops.com
Enquiries: 01584 877276Ludlow • Shrewsbury

Small Round Oak Pateras

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This mounting block looks fabulous under one of our dolly switches. It is the most aesthetically pleasing way of mounting these switches but is not a simple proposition if replacing existing modern plastic plate switches. Great for completely new wiring jobs or replacing surface mounted switches - prepare yourself for extra work if replacing existing flush mounted switches! Measures 3 inches in diameter. Please note that this price is for the oak pateras. The switches are included for illustrative purposes only.

We are often asked why we fit pateras when installing dolly switches. In essence, we do this for 3 good reasons. Firstly, this is how it was invariably done and we do not like to deviate from what was normal practice. This is authentic and always 'looks right'. Pateras were fitted in the early years for two reasons. The practical reason is that walls were often damp and the wooden pateras shielded the fragile cables and switches from damage that might be caused by the damp walls. Aesthetically, this approach of providing a visual transition from a flat surface to a decorative element has been used for years. You will find similar devices in the corners of Georgian doors or under corbals and mouldings.

A Patera (plural pateras or paterae) is, in architecture, a shallow decorative element, typically found on walls or at the junction of straight decorative elements such as ceiling coffers or door casings.

So, most of us will remember that old dolly switch installations invariably included a wooden pateras between the switch and the mounting surface. Undoubtably, in modern times, this arrangement looks right. But it is not easy to unravel the reasons why this convention was carried out. It seems that the pateras (or mounting block) was commonly used to mount gas lights to walls and ceilings. Its purpose was three-fold.

Firstly, as indicated in the first paragraph, it provided a decorative transition between the wall and the lamp. Secondly it both enabled and hid the junction between the gas pipe and the lamp itself. Thirdly, it made fitting these devices to uneven walls much easier.

For these reasons the practice was carried over to the electrical era and switches and lamps were again mounted onto pateras. But, there was another important function when used with electrical fittings. Walls were often damp and the wooden pateras would keep the electrical connections clear of damp, rotting plaster.


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