Indiana

Indiana License Plates

In 1905, Indiana enacted a state motor vehicle licensing code.  This code was loosely written and allowed counties and cities to issue license plates.  Examples of the city and county license plates are rare.   The state issued license plates are plentiful and there were three types:  The first type was steel characters cut out and fixed on to a flat steel plate.  The second had stenciled characters on a flat steel base (painted on characters).  The third has silhouetted brass characters with no background.  All of the early Indiana license plate samples had the abbreviation IND on the right hand side of license plates.

The license plates of Indiana for years 1956, 1957 and 1958 had the slogan DRIVE SAFELY.  The 1959 Indiana license plate had the caption LINCOLN’S YEAR embossed/stamped on the bottom of plate in a reverse style.  The slogan SAFETY PAYS was embossed/stamped on Indiana license plates beginning in 1960 and this continued through 1962.  In 1966. Indiana issued a license plate to commemorate 150th YEAR of statehood. The 1976 Indiana license plate was embossed/stamped with THE HERITAGE STATE to commemorate the bi-centennial of the United states of America.  The 1980 Indiana license plate issue referenced the expedition of George Rogers Clark.  Indiana reminded drivers in 1982 that it was the HOOSIER STATE on all license plates issued.  In 1985, the state invited all to WANDER in its borders with a new license plate.  The Indiana 1991 license plate issue was printed with the slogan HOOSIER HOSPITALITY.  This slogan gave way to AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN on the 1994 Indiana license plate.

The first graphic on Indiana license plates was the minuteman image in red on the bicentennial issue.  A map of Indiana screened in yellow and centered on the exp. 1978 Indiana license plate was only used for one year.  The 1979 license plate had an Indianapolis 500 race car lightly screened beneath its serial checkered flag at the upper left.  The 1980 license plate depicted the expedition of George Rogers Clark.  The 1981 plate had a tricolor stripe of red, orange and yellow along the bottom.  The 1985 Indiana license plate had a red, green and yellow stripes along the bottom.

In 1942, Indiana required all expired license plates be turned in to be re-cycled for the war effort.  The recycled Indiana license plates of 1942 made the 1944 small license plate.  Indiana introduced reflective red on its 1955 license plates.   The first retro-reflective sheeting for a complete license plate was used in 1966 and continues to present.  Reflective numeral coating paint was used to ink embossed/stamped numbers in 1964 and 1965.



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Caroline Alder

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