Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

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.


 To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you