I found this panel behind a hidden door in a 1955 home. What would these plugs be for?

A questioner said:

I found this panel behind a hidden door in a 1955 home. What would these plugs be for?

r/whatisthisthing - I found this panel behind a hidden door in a 1955 home. What would these plugs be for?

r/whatisthisthing - I found this panel behind a hidden door in a 1955 home. What would these plugs be for?


More info from the owner:

  • this appears to be the main panel
  • there are various similar outlets throughout the house, but usually only a single one next to a power outlet
  • I’ve searched coaxial plug ins, but got nowhere.

Some of the people opinions on it:

  1. Possibly from some sort of very early multiroom audio setup? Audio source plugs in to the appropriate way in this patch box via a flying lead, and then you connect your headphones or an amplifier & speaker in whichever room you want to listen. This is a total guess by the way!
  2. Patch Bay for audio
  3. Telephone switch box? Like a smaller version of the ones you saw in large buildings where the building operator would answer the phone then forward it to the correct person.
  4. Oh to be in the 60’s again playing rock and roll all throughout the house
  5. This was probably the connection point for a home intercom system.
  6. If I had to guess they were used for speaker-level signals – think a central point with a receiver/playback device like a turntable feeding speakers plugged into the wall jacks throughout the house so you could listen to music in multiple rooms at the same time. It’d be like the old-school equivalent to having a Sonos-type speaker in every room.
  7. Has anyone pointed out the audio jack on the wall below and to the right of the panel? You just have to hook some audio to each jack in turn and use a speaker on a plug to find out where it comes out in the panel.
  8. Patch panel for audio, you can still use it if you end up wanting to run multiple speaker sets in your basement
  9. I know it’s not, but in the 70s I worked on a PBX switchboard, taking calls for all the tenants of two buildings, shops, residences, small hotel. My board was behind doors when not in use.Hilarious job. Who’s the hippie chick in the corner? The telephone operator.
  10. Hidden pannel for creeper listening in on people?
  11. Switch board

What do you think? Let us know in the comment!

In the world of real estate and home renovation, uncovering hidden treasures and secrets from the past is a thrilling experience. Recently, a homeowner in a quaint 1955-built house stumbled upon an unexpected find: a concealed door leading to an enigmatic panel adorned with a series of unfamiliar plugs. This discovery has sparked curiosity and speculation about the purpose and origin of these mysterious connectors.

The Hidden Door

The journey began with a routine renovation project. While exploring the basement of the mid-century home, the homeowner noticed an oddly placed, inconspicuous wooden panel. Intrigued, they decided to investigate further. With a bit of effort, the panel revealed a hidden door, tucked away behind a false wall. Opening this door felt like stepping into a time capsule, as it unveiled a panel filled with a variety of plugs and outlets, reminiscent of an era long gone.

The Panel and Its Plugs

Upon closer inspection, the panel appeared to be a well-preserved piece of mid-20th-century technology. The array of plugs and connectors seemed sophisticated and purposeful, but their exact function was not immediately apparent. To understand the potential uses, it’s essential to consider the technological landscape and lifestyle of the 1950s.

Possible Explanations

  1. Early Home Automation System: In the 1950s, the concept of home automation was in its infancy. Wealthier homeowners sometimes installed centralized control panels for lights, climate control, and even security systems. The panel could have been part of an early attempt at integrating these systems, providing centralized control over various aspects of the home.
  2. Intercom and Communication Network: Another plausible use for the panel is as part of an intercom or internal communication system. During the mid-20th century, it was not uncommon for larger homes to be equipped with intercom systems to facilitate communication between different parts of the house, such as the kitchen, bedrooms, and garage.
  3. Audio-Visual Equipment: The 1950s saw the rise of home entertainment systems, including radios, record players, and early television sets. The panel might have been used to manage and connect these devices, allowing for audio and visual feeds to be distributed throughout the house.
  4. Security System: Post-World War II America experienced a boom in suburban living, and with it, a growing interest in home security. The panel could have been part of an early alarm or surveillance system, designed to protect the home from intruders.
  5. Electrical Circuit Management: It is also possible that the panel was an advanced form of electrical circuit management. Homes of that era were beginning to incorporate more electrical appliances, and a centralized panel could help manage and distribute power effectively.

Historical Context

To better understand the panel’s function, it’s important to consider the historical context. The 1950s were a time of rapid technological advancement and innovation. Many homeowners were keen to embrace new technologies that promised to make life more convenient and secure. This panel, with its array of plugs and connectors, represents a snapshot of this transformative period.


The discovery of this hidden panel behind a secret door in a 1955 home offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. While the exact purpose of the plugs remains a topic of speculation, the possibilities highlight the ingenuity and forward-thinking nature of mid-20th-century home design. Whether it was for early home automation, communication, entertainment, security, or electrical management, this panel is a testament to the era’s innovative spirit.

As the homeowner continues to explore and potentially restore this intriguing find, one thing is certain: the secrets of the past continue to captivate and inspire, reminding us of the rich history embedded within our everyday surroundings.

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