April 25 - License Plate Day

Posted on April 25, 2020

Whenever there is some new gadget or technology available, some rush to be the first on their block to own it...
...and some people bash it. 

In the case of the automobile, as late as 1901 (about 15 years after the introduction of cars as commercial products), the publication Turf, Field and Farm called the car "an unnatural vehicle." Some cities were passing laws that basically harassed auto owners, and people with cars complained that they didn't have equal rights with drivers of horse-drawn vehicles.

So many drivers in New York State were excited when a new law was passed on this date in 1901. I gather that the new law made regulations for automobiles - and statewide laws make it MUCH easier to know and follow the laws than each and every town and suburb having their own laws. 

But there was something else in that NY state law: auto owners were required to prominently display their initials on the back of their vehicles, in a very noticeable place, with the letters being at least 3 inches tall. 

Mind you, the people who owned cars had to DIY these identifying letters - any color, style, or material - and many took the easy way out and simply painted their initials on their auto. Some people bought metal house letters (used in addresses / apartment numbers) and attached them to leather or wood, and somehow attached the whole shebang to the back of their vehicle. It sounds challenging, actually.

I bet you quickly realized that just being identified by two or three letters wasn't going to help when there were thousands and thousands of cars on the road. I mean, there have got to be a lot of people with the initials CME (my initials), or JMM (my husband's initials), or most other combos.

Still, these simple initial identifiers are considered the beginning of license plates. Now we have personalized (or vanity) license plates, special government plates, fundraiser backgrounds for especially pretty plates, and of course license plate games!

Kids First license plates are colorful, have a pair of charming handprints, and state "KIDS FIRST" at the bottom. People who want this plate have to pay a bit of money - money that goes to the North Carolina Children's Trust Fund.
But then someone ordered a personalized Kids First plate:

I like these three license plates a lot. They're probably my favorites - of the ones I've seen, that is...

There's a lot of variety of license plates in any one state. For example, these are just some of the California license plates you might see:

1 comment:

  1. Very informative and impressive post you have written, this is quite interesting and i have went through it completely, an upgraded information is shared, keep sharing such valuable information. 1985 california license plate