New answers tagged lath-and-plaster
What I ended up doing was putting up batons on the ceiling and plasterboard over the top. We did this with the other wall which was questionable too. Benefits here are that the finish is much better once finished, and it's decidedly less plastering than doing the entire wall. The cost was likely higher than if we had plastered, but the end result was much ...
I believe it is as you surmised an ground wire for the houses (old?) electrical system. My first thought was wire for the exterior wall stucco, but there would have been several levels of wire. This type of ground wire would have been typical for a 1950's residence.
The top two holes were stripped -- I decided to use plastic anchors (not self-tapping drywall anchors that spin) to fasten the #10 screws to the wall: It's holding up well. I just have to patch up the plaster a bit because it took me two tries to insert the plastic anchors into the hole, which was pre-drilled with a 1/4" drill bit.
Screws in wallboard do not support anything. Unless your screws hit a stud or an anchor of some sort, the bracket is decorative, not functional. If there is not a stud in the immediate vicinity, you need to use a serious anchor. I would recommend using a strap toggle type anchor behind the bottom screw and one of the top screws. The bolt can be replaced ...
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