Sunday, March 8, 2009
If I had to guess, most people don't pay much attention to these things and if they do they probably think they're just decoration. They were used for structural reinforcement in the 18th and 19th centuries. Most of the country calls them masonry stars, star anchors or rafter tie plates (some are just square), but on the west coast they call them earthquake stars or washers. All they really are is a great big washer that is slipped over a metal tie rod and is secured with a nut. The rod extends into a masonry building to help reinforce the walls. Sometimes the rod will go all the way through to the other side and will have a star on the other end. The rod has a turnbuckle along it's length somewhere so tension can be applied to the walls to prevent them from bowing outward. I took these while we were in Lexington, KY this weekend.