The Astral Log

7 March 2016

License Plate Finds

Filed under: License Plates — Andrew T. @ 08:00

Now that I've recouped some strength, what better way is there to wrap up the last weekend than to discuss the things I found? Most are tangentially related to my birthyear run, which is starting to spiral out of control.

[license plate]

As I alluded to earlier, I plugged the most embarrassing hole in my marriage equality run—Illinois—at the Peotone meet. Whether or not I'll actually finish the run in time to exhibit it this summer in Mike Pence's RFRA-cursed state is anyone's guess, but I can try...

[license plate]

And speaking of Indiana, here's a gold-colored plate intended for use on state-owned vehicles. I'm not entirely sure when this plate would have been manufactured or used; though the squared corners would appear to indicate 1973 or later. Most Indiana plates until the 1990s were made of steel; however these were aluminum as they were intended for long-term use.

I've long wondered why Indiana embossed painted rectangles in the corners of its plates for many years. It's one of the peculiar design idiosyncrasies of the midwest; alongside ideological rival Wisconsin's extraneous slots and grooves.

[license plate]

I believe that RV plates were the only Indiana non-passenger plates of the 1980s that were revalidated with stickers instead of being wastefully replaced every year. As if to reinforce the fact that there was something out of the ordinary going on, the sticker on this plate is yellow on red...a different color scheme from the passenger stickers of 1985, which were black.

[license plate]

Texas is one of those states that quietly issue dozens of arcane non-passenger classifications for every type of vehicle use imaginable. These annual "conservation" plates certainly fit that bill, and they were reportedly issued to soil conservation machinery. But it's more fun to imagine it hanging on the back of a Citicar or some other Texas-stereotype-defying transportation appliance.

I doubt more than a limited number of these were ever issued at any one time, and this specimen is in unused condition.

[license plate]

Another worthy subject for the "interesting non-pass" category: An Ohio county vehicle plate that was likely issued in the 1970s, but still in use in 1985. Horrible shape; but for a dollar, I couldn't lose.

[license plate]

I also decided to get one of those Oregon PUC permits that were once ubiquitous on the front of big rigs. 1984-85 was the last biannual issue and the last low-profile plate; measuring precisely 12 by 30.5 centimeters in dimension.

[license plate]

My most surprising find of the day was another deal in a dollar box, surrounded by uninspiring 1960s and 1970s scrap-metal fare: A 1946 Illinois fiberboard plate, made out of a soybean composition precipitated by World War II-era metal rationing concerns. Legend and lore has it that goats and other farm animals used to eat these off the bumpers, so maybe I should be content that this one has only a slight bite...

That's all for now, but there will be more someday.

4 March 2016

License Plate Displays... Peotone Style

Filed under: License Plates, US-Illinois — Andrew T. @ 08:00

While I debate whether or not I'll muster the patience to attend a local license plate meet again, here are some glimpses into the meat and matter of last weekend's event: The displays!

1956 license plates

One of the largest things on display was this 53-piece U.S. passenger run from 1956; the twilight era of inconsistent shapes and sizes. But there were 48 states in 1956: Where did the five extras come from? Alaska and Hawaii were both included in the run in spite of their territorial status, as was the District of Columbia (which ought to be a state, but which may never be). And West Virginia and Wisconsin were represented by two plates apiece because each design saw an equal amount of use during 1956. (Nevada could have been represented by two plates as well, but you can't win 'em all.)

California exempt plates

California exempt plates of the last 60 years, in both state (diamond-E) and local government (octagon-E) varieties. The numeric progression of these is rather haphazard, with serials in the 1980s and 1990s jumping between high and low serial blocks at random.

Tennessee license plates

A Tennessee run spanning years from 1926 to 1965; including a good sampling of the 21-year span of state-shaped plates: Good luck finding one of those that hasn't been priced in solid gold by now.

The most interesting portion of the display was the rightmost panel, which was a series of symmetrical plates belonging to a motorist from Overton County (#77) who evidently had connections! Tennessee used both county and weight class coding in this era and changed systems frequently; witnessed in the fact that the guy's number morphed from 77-77 in 1953-56 to 77-0077 in 1957 to 77-A0-77 in 1958, back to 77-0077 in 1959-61, and full circle to 77-77 again for 1962-65.

IL electric vehicle plates

What people collect demonstrates the type of people that they are, and I'd theoretically like to collect these...but Electric Vehicle plates are more difficult than hen's teeth to get; even if you live in Illinois and own an electric car.

Illinois in the year 1985

Last but not least, here's my display! The two panels were split thematically, with the left side expounding upon the idiosyncrasies of the passenger plates of 1985, and the right side cutting a swath across the non-passenger color schemes of the year. It didn't win an award, but I was happy about the way it came together.

In the future, I'd like to assemble a larger display. But I'm limited by the materials I'm easily able to find, and the length of what can fit in the back of my car. Are there any suggestions or good construction ideas out there?

©2015-16 Andrew Turnbull