Maine License Plates
Maine enacted motor vehicle registration as early as 1905 when the first license plates were issued. Maine license plates issued between 1905 and 1913 were undated, but the state name was prominent. The license plates Maine issued from 1905 to 1915 were made of porcelain.
In 1936, the slogan VACATIONLAND appeared on the bottom of all license plates and this is still done today. However, Maine has issued many special interest license plates and the bottom is embossed or screen printed with many slogans, including: VETERANS, DISABLED VETERANS, A NATIONAL TREASURE, COMBAT WOUNDED, RIDE SAFE, COACH, MUNICIPAL, FIREFIGHTER, FORMER POW, LOBSTER, TRAILER, SUPPORT LOCAL AGRICULTURE, FORMER POW, THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE, SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES (breast cancer), SUPPORT WILDLIFE and others.
In 82 years of issuing license plates, Maine’s license plates were simple and practical. In 1987, Maine introduced a license plate base with a pink-red lobster on retro-reflective white background. The words Maine and Vacationland were screened in red. This lobster license plate is the first of its kind to appear anywhere in the world.
The first Maine license plate issued in 1905 was intended to be valid for the life of the motor vehicle. Due to road salt and other factors, the state of Maine found it necessary to re-issue license plates each year for the same vehicle. The 1914 Maine license plate had year a marker, so each year Maine motor vehicles were issued with new license plates to show a valid year. The 1946 and many 1948 license plates were made of solid brass because steel was more expensive than brass. However, in 1949 Maine changed to aluminum license plates because of the higher cost of brass.
Maine was one of the first states to adopt retro-reflective white sheeting for license plates. This practice continues today.