I have an older house that has these on the wall of the two bedrooms:

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Does anyone know what they might be? I took one out and it is has a long metal rod, but I cannot see anything that it attaches to or pushes. Trying to decide if this needs to stay or if I can remove and patch the walls.

Edit: Here's a pic of it removed:

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  • Does it pop out (spring loaded) if you push it in? If so, how far does it come out? Might it be a hanging rod for clothing?
    – bib
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 22:52
  • No spring. By long, I just meant maybe 6" or something. This is on an outside facing wall and there's a similar one on the same wall of another room. It's really weird! :)
    – Rob
    Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 23:38
  • 2
    Are they where a door handle would hit the wall?
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 0:08
  • It might be the call button for the housekeeper or butler? The rod may have attached to a bell?
    – ojait
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 0:30
  • I am with Tester. It looks like a doorknob stop, although they are usually hard rubber not metal. It prevents damage to the wall from the doorknob hitting it.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 0:58

2 Answers 2


It is a retractable hanging rod, also called a valet rod. It should only pull out about 7 to 10" max. I have installed theses in walk in closets.

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  • This doesn't extend past the exterior ring, so I don't think it's a hanging rod :/
    – Rob
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 4:05

Its a button that when pushed would sound a bell or an alarm. It was used by affluent home owners to summon a house maid or butler.

  • Interesting possibility, especially given that some such systems used mechanical rods and/or cables rather than electricity, and it would not have been uncommon for renovations to rip out the apparatus to which such things would have connected (e.g. to free up space to run electrical wiring) while keeping the buttons to cover up the holes.
    – supercat
    Commented Jan 8 at 22:41

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