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Also known as a pattress box, a pattress is a type of container that is used with electrical applications. Commonly used with the installation of light switches and outlet sockets, this type of box provides the containment of the portion of the electrical equipment that is found within the wall, protecting the components from possible damage over time. In some cases, the box is mounted on the wall surface, serving to shield the wiring and components from exposure to dust and other potential contaminants.
The pattress box is a simple device that looks much like any type of box. Equipped with a bottom and four sides, the container fits neatly against what is known as a pattress plate. When installed correctly, the box is more or less sealed, providing a reasonable level of protection to the contents. At the same time, the presence of the box and plates prevents accidental contact with the electrical wiring, a factor that is especially important when the box is located on a wall surface rather than being imbedded within a wall. There is normally an opening along one of the sides or the top of the container to allow electrical cable to run from the box and along a wall or beam to a power source.
In terms of construction, a pattress may be composed of a durable plastic or some type of metal. In residential situations that normally call for the box to be within the wall, it is not unusual for plastic containers to be utilized. Metal containers are often used in commercial or manufacturing settings where it is deemed a good idea to have access to the electrical wiring without the need to extract it from the interior area of a wall. With both applications, wall anchor plates are often used to mount the box into the proper position and hold it in place more or less permanently.
The pattress is known by a number of other names, with local customs often dictating which name is used. In some parts of the world, the container may be known as a wall box when it is inserted into the wall. When the wall is composed of plasterboard or some type of timber construction rather than brick or cement blocks, it may be referred to as a plasterboard box. While the name may change, the essential function of the pattress remains the same.