Wall plug

Wall plug

A wall plug or Rawlplug™ is a type of used in building. It allows screws to be fitted into masonry walls.

There are many forms of wall plug, but the most common principle is to use a tapered tube of soft material, such as plastic. This is inserted loosely into a drilled hole, then a screw is tightened into the centre. The wedging action tightens the plug firmly in place, the soft material conforming tightly to the masonry.

Development of wall plugs

Before commercial wall plugs, fixings were made to brick or masonry walls by chiselling a groove into a soft mortar joint, hammering in a crude wooden plug and then attaching to the wooden plug. This was time consuming and required a large hole, thus more patching of the wall afterwards. It also limited the holes' location to the mortar joints.

The original wall plug was invented by John Joseph Rawlings in 1911, and marketed under the name "Rawlplug"™. This brand name has become genericised in the UK, being equally applied to wall plugs from competing manufacturers. These plugs became popular after the First World War, when a demand for retro-fitting existing buildings with new electric lighting coincided with a shortage of labour, encouraging many new labour-saving innovations in the building trade. Rawlplug gained their prominence from their adoption in the British Museum.cite web
title=Rawlplug history
url=http://www.rawlplug.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3&Itemid=3
publisher=Rawlplug Ltd.
]

Early wall plugs were thick-walled fibre tubes, made of parallel strings bonded with glue. Most current brands are plastic, first designed in 1958 by Artur Fischer, known as the Fischer Wall Plug.

Some early plugs, including Rawlings', were also made of soft metal strips, punched with raised perforations for grip.

Fibre and resin mixes

On crumbling walls it may be difficult to drill a clean hole, or the force of the expanding plug may be enough to cause cracking. In these cases a hardening liquid or putty mixture may be used instead.

One of the first of these mixtures was produced by Rawlplug and was composed of dry white asbestos fibres, sold loose in a tin. The user wetted some into a ball (usually by spitting on them) and pushed this plug of putty into the hole. A small tamper and spike was supplied with the kit. Although highly effective, the hazard of the asbestos fibres means that this putty is no longer available.

Modern resin mixtures are based on polyester resins. Apart from their use in construction, they're also used (controversially) in climbing.

See also

*Screw anchor
*Rawlplug Ltd.

References


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