What are the different names for enclosures?

Electrical enclosures

This is perhaps the cover-all term and enclosures are used in a huge number of situations, from the remote countryside for weather monitoring equipment, to traffic light controllers, to machinery control equipment in a factory.

Feeder pillars

This is the name often used in the electricity supply industry in the UK and also by people working in the street lighting, traffic signals and other highways sectors.  The name feeder pillar tells you that the enclosure houses the electricity supply to something.

Feeder pillars might be supplying power to equipment operating in the external environment. For example, roadside equipment like streetlights and traffic signals, car charging points etc.  However, they might house the power supply for a whole building, to save space in the building or to move the distribution network operator (DNO)/building-owner interface to the boundary of the property.

Control panels

As the name suggests, these typically house instrumentation displays and machine control interfaces.  They are typically found in places like power stations, radio stations and holding security alarm equipment.

A control panel manufactured by us for Kelvin Power Station, SA in the 1950s.


This is what we tend to call our larger enclosures with hinged doors but a lot of our customers still call them feeder pillars.


We haven’t used this one for a few years but it is common name for instrumentation enclosures, such as our Instrument Cubicle from our 1960s brochure in the photograph below.

Intrument cubicle developed by Ritherdon in the 1960s.


We’ve found that kiosk is often used in the utility industry for large cabinets and might include walk-in kiosks (very large ones, almost small buildings, such as sub-stations) and non-walk-in kiosks (for example the Ritherdon Temporary Builders Supply and Permanent Supply kiosks).

External electrical enclosures

This one is fairly self-explanatory.

Electronic enclosures

This might include internal cabinets such as 19” rack cabinets, which are often used in large numbers inside data centres and telecommunications buildings.

Examples of external electronic enclosures include things like traffic counting cabinets or environmental monitoring stations.

Electricity Meter Boxes

These must be one of the most common electrical enclosure with many houses in the UK having their meters installed on the outside of the house, inside a meter box.


Countries outside the UK

United States – Power Box or NEMA enclosure (National Electrical Manufacturers Association).

Germany – Gehäuse

France – boîtiers

Italy – armadietti

These last ones are a bit speculative but a bit of searching on European websites throws up these terms, among others.


The list of different names seems endless but these are the common ones that we’ve come across at Ritherdon.  And you could, of course, carry on to list all the enclosures that house all sorts of non-electrical equipment, such as gas meter boxes and water utility kiosks but that’s a whole other article!

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