License plate and car history


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Retrieved September 27, Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, Retrieved September 6, Vehicle registration plates of the United States. Virgin Islands. Canal Zone Native American tribes Designs and serial formats. Vehicle registration plates of North America. Hidden categories: Articles with short description. Namespaces Article Talk.

Views Read Edit View history. Languages Add links. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Some serial blocks believed to be reserved for motorcycles. Embossed golden yellow serial on black plate with border line; "DIST. This practice continued until The very first license plates were typically handcrafted on leather or metal iron and were meant to denote ownership via the initials.

It wasn't until two years later, in , that the first state-issued license plates were distributed in Massachusetts. The very first plate, featuring just the number "1," was issued to Frederick Tudor, who was working with the highway commission and the son of the "Ice King" Frederic Tudor. One of his relatives still holds an active registration on the 1 plate.


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These early Massachusetts license plates were made of iron and covered in porcelain enamel. The background was colored a cobalt blue and the number was in white. Along the top of the plate, also in white, were the words: "MASS. Massachusetts was the first to issue license plates, but other states soon followed. As automobiles began to crowd the roads, it was necessary for all states to find ways to start regulating cars, drivers, and traffic.

By , all states in the United States had begun issuing their own vehicle registration plates. Each Mexican state issues registration plates of a different design.

Historical and authentic license plates

Most states change designs more or less every third year, with each state on its own plate replacement cycle. A set of Mexican plates includes one pair of plates, a windshield sticker, and in a few states a plate sticker. In the size of the plate number was reduced to accommodate the addition of the state number, legend indicating the position of the plate on the vehicle "delantera" front or "trasera" rear , and additional graphics. European-sized plates do exist in Mexico, but are not official or technically even legal. The border plates were introduced in and are available in the Mexico-USA border zone.

The First License Plates in U.S. History

In Panama, the design of registration plates changes every year and have the same shape of US license plates. They used to be made by prison inmates but now they are made on demand and on site using a press. They used to have 6 numbers but since new plates for new vehicles they have 2 letters and 4 numbers. On the bottom center of the plate is the year when the plate was issued.

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They also have holograms on the right edge of the plate. Government vehicles always begin with GO. Taxis begin with T and are always yellow. Motorcycles begin with M. Metro buses begin with MB.

Plates for motorcycles are about half the size. Plates of vehicles belonging to the national assembly are always white and have the logo of the national assembly on the left and 2 numbers on the right and are always white. Vehicles of government executives have no license or registration plate. Vehicles from Central America can be used freely in Panama without having to change license plates but only if the vehicle will not be staying indefinitely in Panama.


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  8. Vehicles also have to be checked every year when changing the license plate. The plate must be changed every year and once the vehicle is checked a sticker must be attached to the back of the vehicle's windshield. The color of the sticker changes every year. Although registration plates have only existed for just over years in the United States, they have developed a distinctive history that has undergone several periods and changes.

    The first registration plates in North America appeared in in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The first registration plates in the United States were made out of leather , rubber , iron , and porcelain , painted on the front in usually two different colors—one for the background and one for the lettering.

    This scheme held true for most states until about The front of the plate would usually contain the registration number in large digits, and in smaller lettering on one side of the plate, the two- or four-digit year number, and an abbreviated state name. Each year, citizens were usually required to obtain a new registration plate from the state government, which would have a different color scheme than the previous year, making it easier for police to identify whether citizens were current with their vehicle registration.

    Even before , some states had adopted the technique of embossing the metal plates with raised lettering and numbering, without porcelain, and applying paint all over the plate, directly onto the metal. Minnesota introduced some registration plates during this period with three different years embossed into the plate, so that the plates were valid for three consecutive years e. In the United States, registration plates are issued by each state. The federal government issues plates only for its own vehicle fleet and for vehicles owned by foreign diplomats.

    In the United States, many American Indian tribal governments issue plates for their members , while some states provide special issues for tribal members.

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    Within each jurisdiction, there may also be special plates for groups such as firefighters or military veterans, and for state, municipality, or province-owned vehicles. The appearance of plates is frequently chosen to contain symbols or slogans associated with the issuing jurisdiction. Some of these are intended to promote the region. A few make political statements; for example, most plates issued in District of Columbia include the phrase " Taxation Without Representation " to highlight D. More recently, some states have also started to put a web address pertaining to the state such as Pennsylvania , which posts the address of its tourism site.

    In some states Georgia , Iowa , Kentucky , Mississippi , Tennessee , and some versions in Florida , the issuing county is listed at the bottom, while Kansas does so with a letter-coded registration sticker; Utah did so until Indiana identifies counties with a two-digit code in the lower right corner of its plates.

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    Some states, such as New Hampshire , New Mexico , and New York , formerly used county-coded or county-labeled plates before switching to standard-progression plates. Most states use plates onto which the letters and numbers are embossed so that they are slightly raised above its surface. Characters on Vermont plates are engraved onto a large, slightly raised portion of the plate. Several other states, such as Colorado , Mississippi, Missouri , New York, Ohio, Oregon , Washington , West Virginia , and Wisconsin , produce a flat registration plate only for certain plates, such as personalized license plates and special interest plates.

    Nevada reverted from using flat registration plates to using embossed plates, after using flat plates as a standard issue for a few years. The numbering system of registration plates also varies among the jurisdictions. Some states issue a motorist a serial that stays with that person as long as they live in that state, while other states periodically issue new serials and completely rotate out any old ones. Some states issue registration plates to vehicles rather than owners, and the serial stays with the vehicle for its life. When a person moves from one state to another, they are normally required to obtain new registration plates issued by the new place of residence.

    Some U. The most prominent exceptions to this policy are active duty military service members, who legally do not change residence when they move to a new posting. Federal law specifically allows them to choose to either retain the state vehicle registration of their original residence or change registration to their state of assignment.

    In Nevada, front plates are optional if the vehicle was not designed for a front plate and the manufacturer did not provide an add-on bracket or other means of displaying the front plate. Vehicles owned by the United States Postal Service , unlike other federally owned civilian vehicles, do not bear registration plates, but rather a postal service number such as on the Grumman LLV.

    Tactical vehicles of the United States military do not bear registration plates, even if they travel regularly on public streets and highways. In many U. Afghan registration plates primarily use Persian script text and numerals. The current version was introduced in Bangladeshi registration plates use Bengali alphabets and Bengali numerals. The vehicle registration plates in Bangladesh use Bengali alphabets and Bengali numerals. The current version of Vehicle registration plates started in The International vehicle registration code for Bangladesh is BD.

    The "DHAKA" field represents the city name in Bengali alphabets , the "D" field represents the vehicle class in Bengali alphabets , the "11" field represents the vehicle registration serial in Bengali numerals newer registrations have a higher serial number and finally, the "" field represents the vehicle number of the vehicle in Bengali numerals.

    The plates are installed in both the front and rear of the vehicle, with the rear plate permanently attached to the vehicle. The plate is only removed when the vehicle has reached the end of service and has been sold for scrap. New vehicles are not delivered to the purchaser until the plates have been attached at the dealership. The current plates are of the standard GA , blue background and consist a one-character provincial abbreviation, a letter of the Latin alphabet corresponding to a certain city in the province, and five numbers or letters of the alphabet e.

    The numbers are produced at random, and are computer-generated at the issuing office.

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