Anchor plates are ubiquitous in Lviv as they are on most of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings in the city.
Anchor plates (also called wall washers, pattress plates, masonry stars, etc.) are used to reinforce the structure of masonry buildings. Made from cast or wrought iron, these plates are connected to rods that penetrate the building. Sometimes the rod is exposed, which can be seen on balconies. The plates are generally symmetrical as to evenly distribute the tension created by the anchor point, thus further stabilizing the wall. Due to new construction practices and technologies, anchor plates are rarely used anymore for reinforcement.
As they are typically visible, anchor plates are generally used as a decorative element of the building. Less ornamental ones can be found on more modest buildings, or on sides of buildings which originally were covered by another building.
In Lviv, the most common shapes are S’s and X’s but range from an elaborate design to a simple square or line. (See examples from other cities here.)
Examples of elaborate anchor plates:
Examples of simpler ones:
The full gamut:
Balconies or windows where the rods are exposed: