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1923 Washington State License Plates

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License Plates25 of 2221948 Minnesota License Plates WO KANSAS 31  TRUCK
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (646 items)

    1923 Washington State License Plates

    14" x 4 1/2"

    Just found these today. A nice pair of matching plates. They are actually blue on white background. With age, these look sort of yellow and black. Not sure if I want to clean them. I kinda like the patina.

    The X indicates a passenger vehicle.
    T = Truck
    E = Publicly Owned Vehicle

    1923 was the first year that License Plates were manufactured at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary by prisoners. They still manufacture license plates. Prior to this, they were manufactured through a bidding process for contracts.

    Also known as the Washington State Penitentiary, opened in 1886, three years before statehood. It is the oldest operational prison in Washington state.

    Was home to many serial killers including "The Barefoot Bandit" and "Green River Killer"

    Laws went into effect on June 7, 1905, and required that all motor vehicles be registered with the Secretary of State’s office. This meant you get a number, you were responsible for making a plate and displaying it

    January 1915 new laws passed and metal plates are issued by the state. Contracts were won by a Los Angeles company. Production is slow and many issues.

    1917 A Seattle based company wins the contract. Smaller plates are made. The X=passenger T=Truck are introduced.

    1919 State starts experimenting with adding metal year tabs. Cost savings is minimal and creates even more issues. They try to make tabs for every car, but some vehicles leave state, etc so over manufacturing creates more cost issues.

    Oh the addition to the other cost issues, 12,000 of the tabs were lost when the ship Amazon capsized off Dash Point. Amazon lost my shipment...ha ha!

    1923 First plates made at Walla Walla Penitentiary by prisoners. The same colors were used for plates manufactured in 1923, 1924, and 1925. This resulted in cost savings through purchasing the enamel to paint the license plates in large quantities.

    1926 Plates now have Washington on them.

    Way back in 1923 prideful Washington residents started complaining about the Wn abbreviation, claiming on trips to other states, no one understood where Wn was. And further more Wisconsin residents despised the Wn when Washington cars rolled into their state.

    This is only a small view of Washington plate history. One more fun fact. 1921 they had the next year's license plates stored in the Capital building. The weight was so much, that it caused the basement to sink and they had to move them.

    This is a link that was an excellent source of information.

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    1. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Interesting post. I lived in Seattle from 1979-1992 before moving to the Midwest. I can still remember my license plate number. I may still have that set of plates somewhere...
    2. dav2no1 dav2no1, 2 years ago
      If you remember my other post, I have a few. Interestingly now I have a bunch of Washington plates now. So maybe time to plan out the other wall..
    3. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 2 years ago
      Another interesting history about license plates. I lived in Port Townsend, WA during the fifties and have the green/white plate with taps for 55, 56, 57
    4. dav2no1 dav2no1, 2 years ago
      Thanks for looking and your comments. I really enjoyed researching for this post. I learned a lot!
    5. dav2no1 dav2no1, 2 years ago
      *Update* New picture added* So...I decided to lightly clean them after all.

      I used a toothbrush and dish soap. I very lightly cleaned them. Now they are closer to their original white color w/ blue lettering.

      Additionally I used my Hammer and vise and straightened the out as best I could. I think they came out pretty good...
    6. ttomtucker ttomtucker, 2 years ago
      Look real good, nice job
    7. dav2no1 dav2no1, 2 years ago
      Ttom - thanks..and check out my 1948 Minnesota plates. Those are in near mint condition..

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