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Large Round Oak Pateras

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Made in oak, this measures 4in diameter and is ½in thick. This pateras (or backing plate) is most suitable for wall lights or ceiling pendants. It creates a proper transition from lamp to the flat surface of the wall or ceiling and also helps provide a little space for wiring up.

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.