What is this panel in basement wall of 1940s house?

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What is this panel in basement wall of 1940s house?

Post by hermes1972 »

When I removed a cabinet from our basement wall today I discovered the panel in the photo below. The panel is metal, approximately 2 ft wide and 1 ft high. It has five 1.5 inch holes in it, each one covered in mesh (see close up). Behind the mesh I can see gravel. This plate is located in the basement wall directly below the front door. The plate is approximately 4 ft from the basement floor, and 2 ft below ground level (i.e 2 ft below the front door). The house has a cinder block foundation (but there is no cinder block behind the panel). The house was built in 1949. There are no utilities entering the house near the panel. Any ideas what it could be for? Many thanks!
wall1.jpg (720.71 KiB) Viewed 6745 times
wall2.jpg (999.24 KiB) Viewed 6745 times

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