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District of Columbia License Plate
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This license plate from the District of Columbia, No. 2272, was homemade, using numerals normally used to number houses. The District of Columbia required that all vehicles operating on its streets had a license from DC, but did not issue plates itself until 1907, when it began to issue porcelain plates.
Physical Description
artifact. 11 3/4" L x 7" H (including hooks) x 3/4" D; brass numbers attached to (fragile) patent leather over steel plate, metal hooks.
Date Made:
Dist of Columbia
Gift of Kenneth F. Anderson
As the number of motor vehicles reached tens of thousands, state and local governments assumed a new power: authorizing vehicles and drivers. In 1901, New York became the first state to register automobiles; by 1918 all states required license plates

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