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License Plates

Rochel Burstyn

You surely know what license plates are, although depending where you live, you might call them number plates, registration plates, or tags. They’re those little doohickeys with numbers and/or letters attached to the back (and in some areas, the front as well) of vehicles. So what are they used for, who makes them, and what do they look like around the world? Wash your windshields, adjust your mirror, let’s zoom off and find out!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

car locense plates

License plates have been around longer than cars. They first appeared in 1884, in parts of Canada, for horse drawn carriage taxis.

As for the US, it wasn’t until 1901 that New York first required its cars to have license plates — but car owners were required to produce their own plates! These first homemade plates were usually metal house numbers attached to a leather pad. In some areas, the first plates were just the owner’s initials … until the government realized there were a lot of people with the same initials living in the same area.…

In 1903, Massachusetts became the first state to require government-issued license plates. These earliest plates were nothing fancy, just the state name or abbreviation, a registration number, and usually the year. But today’s license plates come with fancy lettering, county names, illustrations, logos, and slogans. (Some state slogans are head-scratching:South Dakota: Great Faces, Great Places,Tennessee: Sounds Good to Me,New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment …)

Today, mostUSplates are 6x12 inches (15x30 cm) (they’re a little longer and flatter in theUK) but shapes can get original too!KansasandTennesseeused to cut their plates to match the shape of the state itself. The world’s most unusually shaped plates are seen in theNorthwest TerritoriesandNunavutinCanada, which have plates cut in the shape of a bear.

 

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