When was the first license plate issued in the United States?


Once again, the intro to Tom, George and Jim’s book Colorado  License Plates The First 100 Years 1013-2013 provides an accurate and comprehensive response to this question.  “On April 25, 1901, New York, through an action of its legislature, became the first state to require vehicle registration.  Early plates were owner-provided, bearing only the vehicle owner’s initials. These soon gave way to plates with numbers.

In 1903, Massachusetts was the first state to actually issue license plates. These were undated white on cobalt blue porcelain with the legend ‘MASS. AUTOMOBILE REGISTER’. By 1918, all 48 of the contiguous United States issued plates – Colorado joined the group in 1913. Alaska and Hawaii, although territories at the time, began to issue plates in 1921 and 1922, respectively. ”

Next week we’ll talk about how manufactured plates from various states have significantly changed through the years…..