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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
California license plate
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
California residents had to register their vehicles with the state in 1905, but the state did not issue license plates until 1914. By 1934, the plates were metal.
Physical Description
artifact. 14" W x 6 1/4" H x 1/4" D, metal, orange with black lettering, plate number 1S-952
Date Made:
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
Related People, Places, and Events
Place of Use
California (1934)

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