What this metal bar thing that attaches to the inside back of this old receptacle? It comes out of the side of the box then goes down the wall to where I cannot see. It looks like copper but a magnet will stick to it, so I guess it's steel.

Copper bar in metal receptacle

Copper bar in receptacle 3 copper bar in receptacle 2

The bar is quite thick, so at first I thought it was some sort of brace, but it's also long, irregularly shaped, and doesn't immediately connect to anything else. The building is from the early 60's and I'm not sure what conventions they had then.

I'm trying to replace this 2 gang with a 3, but the original metal box is going to be tricky to remove. It is similar to the example below, in that there's a side bracket sticking out at the top and bottom that holds it to the stud with nails. So I expect my only solution is to saw it out.

Example (not same model):
Example metal receptacle 2 gang new work

Can I just cut this copper bar thing out? Is it structural, or some sort of grounding thing?

Update: I painstakingly cut the old receptacle brackets and the metal bar then removed it all. The part of the bar that remained in the wall was quite loose, so I would not consider it used for bracing.

old receptacle removed from wall old receptacle back view

metal bar removed after being cut

Extra photos for context:

Receptacle Unopened Receptacle zoomed out

  • It can not be other then grounding
    – Traveler
    Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 22:56
  • @Ruskes - Why might it be so thick? It's easily 10 times thicker than a 12 guage wire.
    – Bort
    Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 23:03
  • Can you get a small magnet on it and see if it's magnetic? It could be copper plated steel. Any evidence that the home was formerly owned by a ham radio operator?
    – MTA
    Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 23:35
  • @MTA Yep a magnet sticks to it! No evidence of a HAM radio past life though. This is a bathroom, which I would guess has always been a bathroom.
    – Bort
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 0:03
  • 4
    It's not some kind of mounting bracket for the box, is it?
    – Huesmann
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


It's definitely a mounting bracket, although it appears it was used incorrectly.

  • 1
    It might be helpful if you could indicate how it should have been used, for future reference...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 17:34
  • 2
    It appears to have been cut, because those brackets would usually span a bay, or to stabilize one side of it before the metal boxes had vertical metal brackets attached to them. see bityl.co/HYhN Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 17:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.