gridiron

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gridiron

1. a framework above the stage in a theatre from which suspended scenery, lights, etc., are manipulated
2. 
a. the field of play in American football
b. an informal name for American football
c. (as modifier): a gridiron hero
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gridiron

 

the upper part of a theater stage, circus arena, or film studio shooting area.

Gridirons are used as a place to which to rig pulleys, lifts, and other stage equipment and on which to set up the lighting apparatus. The basic element is a latticed flooring of rectangular wooden beams. The latticed flooring makes it possible to raise or lower props at any spot on the stage. Gridirons communicate conveniently with the area they serve, with the help of work galleries and stationary fireproof fire escapes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

gridiron

A framework (usually of steel) over a theater stage and immediately below the stage-house roof; used as the structural support from which scenery and lighting equipment are hung. Also called a grid.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
I shall be afraid of the gridiron and the pitchforks.
This time we were not so lucky as to find a sheltering rock to guard us from the glare of the sun, with the result that about seven o'clock we woke up experiencing the exact sensations one would attribute to a beefsteak on a gridiron. We were literally being baked through and through.
I took a fire-shovel and tongs, which I wanted extremely, as also two little brass kettles, a copper pot to make chocolate, and a gridiron; and with this cargo, and the dog, I came away, the tide beginning to make home again - and the same evening, about an hour within night, I reached the island again, weary and fatigued to the last degree.
She had brought the meat home that she should have eaten herself, and was already warming it on a gridiron over the fire for her father, clad in an old grey gown and a black cap, awaiting his supper at the table.
Gridiron Strategies: Football Forms for the Winning Coach