10 May 2020

Under my feet : utility cover plates

During my lockdown exercise walks, as I seek to avoid other people’s germs wafting in my face, I’ve been spending a little more time than usual looking down and, in the process, especially during urban walks, I’ve been taking more notice of these ...

Now, I’m not entirely sure what to call them: utility cover plates? manhole covers (though not all are man-sized)? utility access points? inspection chamber covers? drain covers? drainage grates? 

I see many of those I have photographed have the word ‘ductile’ on their surfaces so has the industry that manufactures these cover plates adopted this word to identify their products? If so, it has done this in error as ductile is an adjective describing the pliability of metal. Perhaps they have conflated the two words ‘duct' and 'tile’?

I suppose these plates can actually have a variety of names, depending on their functions and whether they relate to storm water or other water drainage, sewers, electricity, gas or telecommunications. I have lumped together a wide variety of those I have found in this blog but, if I were to attempt a more detailed examination, I would need to separate them out in to their respective functions. I’m not sure I’m quite that motivated by these items but I am very impressed with some of their designs.

If you’re interested in learning more about these covers, Wikipedia has an interesting article

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