Was any in-universe explanation given for those gaudily coloured things on the Enterprise's corridor walls?

Out-of-universe, they look very much like discarded match plate patterns from a metal foundry. The rectangular metal piece would be the "match plate", and the wooden carving would be the "pattern" that is permanently attached to it.
Is that what they actually were?

Enterprise corridor showing gaudily coloured wall equipment (and Sulu with a foil).

UPDATE (3 years later):

I've found some photos my father took (probably 1970s or 1980s) of a wood pattern he made.

Based on a blueprint, he carved it from wood then painted it. It would been used directly to make moulds (for low production), or cast in aluminum (for high production).

(This is the only one I found, but I've no idea why he thought it special enough to record, given that he must have made thousands of them over his lifetime.)

It wouldn't have looked out of place on board the Enterprise.

And I'm beginning to suspect that the wall plant-ons were actually their original gaudy colour.

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  • 12
    I look around the room I'm in right now and there are a dozen things attached to my wall that would be beyond the understanding of a human from 300 years ago. Electric outlets, light switches, phone jack, thermostat, radiator, heat pump, etc. I would imagine a corridor built 300 years from now would be equally mysterious to me. May 17, 2021 at 15:26
  • 12
    Fire hydrant. And a well-oiled Sulu... :-) May 17, 2021 at 18:41
  • 12
    It's a GNDN - Goes Nowhere Does Nothing.
    – Schwern
    May 17, 2021 at 19:04
  • 5
    The real question to me is: WTF? Everything else in the various Enterprise versions is totally slick, buttoned down, hidden behind access tunnels or under removable panels. The entire engineering area with the drives and powers is all smooth and glossy and blinking lights. But here, in some random corridor, there is something - some kind of sewage pipe? A sliding-door opening mechanism? What? Just sticking out of the corridor where any autonomous corridor cleaning robot would bang into it and get itself out of adjustment ... But, maybe: Mirror universe? Does that explain it?
    – davidbak
    May 17, 2021 at 22:04
  • 9
    @Harper given that it’s Star Trek I’d assume the opposite, this being Explodium tanks, to ensure that everything blows up impressively when taking damage.
    – Holger
    May 18, 2021 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


They seem to be called "wall plant-ons". Christies had at least one for sale a few years back, which you can look at here.

According to the auction blurb, they're bits of wood that have been painted and lettered. I'd imagine in the props department.

As an homage to the TOS prop work, they actually made the internal works for the "wall plant-ons" in the form of "busy boxes" for Star Trek: Enterprise.

More informative, from the same auction listing:

No one is quite sure what these gizmos were supposed to be on the original Starship Enterprise. Series art director Walter M. Jefferies simply wanted some technical-looking hardware to add visual interest to his corridor sets. The show's perpetually-constrained budget did not allow him the luxury of creating such things from scratch, so he looked around the studio for something that he could use. Stored in a soundstage basement, Jefferies found a collection of intricately-made hardwood shapes. They were old tooling patterns to make the inner mechanisms of obsolete camera cranes and dollies. Since the patterns hadn't been used for decades, Jefferies thought they might do well on his starship. Decades later, the Paramount special effects shop spent thousands of dollars re-creating Jefferies' inexpensive find for "In A Mirror, Darkly" in Star Trek: Enterprise. These unusual wall decorations remain a signature of Matt Jefferies' ingenious vision of the 23rd century, even if no one knows what they did.

  • 33
    Adding some subjective interpretation: from the coloring and how openly its placed it is very reminiscent of emergency tools like fire extinguishers etc. ; Whether that was intended or not we can't know but it immediately reminded me of it
    – Hobbamok
    May 17, 2021 at 8:32
  • 14
    They are not "bits of wood that have been fabricated in the shop". The set people would simply have painted them and mounted them on the wall. ¶ The "tooling patterns" in the listing confirms my suspicion that they were simply discarded match plates. The studio would have paid a lot of money to have a skilled patternmaker create them from blueprints. They would have been used to form packed sand molds into which molten metal would be poured to create the casting for the dolly parts. Notice they have no concave surfaces, so anything molded onto them could be lifted off without damage. May 17, 2021 at 13:06
  • 12
    It looks a commercial/industrial water shutoff valve. You see them out in front of large buildings all over the place - I'll bet there was one out front of the studio where they filmed the show. It doesn't make much sense to have it half-embedded in the wall like that, but they probably just took a plaster half-molding off a real valve so they could make many replicas (blown plastic would be easiest today, not sure if they had that in the 60's) of it and stick them up all over the place. May 17, 2021 at 13:40
  • 11
    Bright-red painted valve housing. That would make it fire suppression equipment. Probably pulls out when needed.
    – Joshua
    May 17, 2021 at 17:41
  • 12
    @Joshua You've probably put more thought into those 3 sentences than they did building the set piece. More likely it was a "This looks cool and technical" scenario. May 17, 2021 at 20:20

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