Illinois

Illinois License Plates

Illinois cities first issued license circular license plate seas from 1899 through 1907 and these were made of steel and brass.  The fist State of Illinois issued license plates started in 1907 pursuant to legislative statute and the plate in 1911 was flat, in 1912 the plates were perforated and 1n 1913, the numbers and state name were cut out of blank metal.  The reason why perforated and cut out letters/numbers were manufactured to allow air through the license plate to cool radiator.  In 1914 embossed steel license plates were introduced and this continued to 1942 –when the United States joined the Allies in World War II.  To save metal for the war effort, Illinois issued license plates made of fiberboard from 1942 through 1948.  There are reports that goats from nearby farms roamed the streets of rural Illinois and ate the fiberboard license plates right off the car bumpers.

The first slogan on Illinois license plates appeared in 1954: LAND OF LINCOLN and continued until 1993.  The 1976 license plate was a special design to commemorate 200 years of independence.  The 1968 Illinois license plate commemorated 150 years of statehood.  The letters ILL appeared on the first Illinois license plate issued in 1911 and continued until 1933.  In 1934, the full state name “Illinois” was embossed. 

In the year 1966, retro-reflective film covering an aluminum substrate license plate was introduced and continues today with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates.   Illinois was one of America’s most industrialized of all the states and huge companies were headquartered there.  Big names included: Sears Roebuck, Wrigley’s, AB Dick, Brach’s Candy, International Harvester, Caterpillar,  John Deere and many others, so by 1950 over 2,000,000 private cars were registered.   Ten years later in 1959, over 3,000,000 private cars were registered.  This number jumped over 5,000,000 by 1980.


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Robert Topeka, Kansas

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