Rhode Island

Rhode Island License Plates

Rhode Island began issuing license plates and registering motor vehicles in 1904. The 1904 – 1917 Rhode Island license plates were undated and made of porcelain. The first steel license plate was issued by Rhode Island in 1918. In 1936, Rhode Island celebrated 300 years of statehood by issuing a commemorative license plate. The bottom of the license plate read "300TH YEAR". The top of this plate read "1636 RHODE ISLAND 1936". Beginning in 1967, the word DISCOVER was added to the top of the Rhode Island license plate and was used until 1981. In 1972, the slogan "OCEAN STATE" was introduced and is still used today on regular issue license plates.

The only graphic icon appearing on Rhode Island license plates is a small anchor. This anchor was embossed on earlier license plates, but is now screen printed. The license plates of Rhode Island were as basic as those issued by Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. These license plates were functional and practical. Most of the Rhode Island license plate colors were white with black imprint or black with white imprint. In 1972, Rhode Island introduced retro-reflective white sheeting and the use of this safety material continues today. The retro-reflective sheeting is laminated to aluminum and has more elaborate screen or digital printing.


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