Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1913 - Indiana's first license plate

In 1913, Indiana issued its first standardized license plate, this black-and-yellow porcelain plate. They're somewhat hard to find and VERY expensive when they're in much better condition than the example at left.

It took 20 years of collecting to find this one. Below is an excerpt from a period newspaper laying out the new "motor vehicle law" which took effect July 1, 1913:

"NEW MOTOR VEHICLE LAW IN FORCE JULY 1. PROVIDES FOR THE REGISTRATION AND REGULATION OF AUTOMOBILES AND MOTORCYCLES - FEES RANGE FROM $2 TO $50 - NUMBER PLATES ISSUED TO OWNERS FREE OF CHARGE BY STATE UPON PAYMENT OF LICENSE ...
On July 1 the new motor law will take effect, and after that date all owners of automobiles and motorcycles will be required to take out a new license as provided by that measure.
... Senate Bill 205 (chapter 300), approved March 15, provides for the registration and regulation of motor vehicles and examination and licensing to chauffeurs and provides penalties for violations of the act. Traction engines, road rollers, fire wagons and engines, ambulances and police patrol wagons, and all bicycles or other vehicles propelled by huseular power, together with motor vehicles running upon rails, are excluded from the operation of the act.
... Application for license must be made within ten days after the applicant becomes the owner of a motor vehicle or motor bicycle operated on a public highway. The application must be made on a blank to be furnished by the secretary of state for that purpose, and verified and the secretary shall file and index the same and give the applicant a number and issue to him a certificate of registration and a number plate ..."

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