Thursday, May 9, 2013

They really made a porcelain license plate?

In days gone by, car ownership was a mark of wealth.  But it was often hard to distinguish one car from another.  So the license plate was born.

Originally, license plates were handmade out of any object on hand—leather, wood, etc—using the number issued by the state.  Many felt, though, that handmade plates detracted from the overall appearance of a car.  Starting in 1903, both cities and states issued porcelain plates.  Porcelain manufacturing for kitchenware had been around since the previous century, and the states began to use it for standardized plates as car ownership increased.

One of the companies that produced this style of plates was the Brilliant Manufacturing Company.  The Brilliant Manufacturing Co out of Philadelphia Pennsylvania produced porcelain license plate for the state of New Jersey. Brilliant was one of the more prolific porcelain license plate manufacturers on the scene, but they got a late start on making plates when they started in 1911.

This license plate was made by Brilliant Manufacturing and is dated 1915, which is the end of when the porcelain license plates were made.

One area of importance is where the plate is mounted to the car; this area often gets damaged and rusts to the point where the mounting holes look like craters.  This plate is also missing the round badge that was mounted above the date on the right hand side.  Since this was held on with pop rivets, the rivets often got rusted or worked their way loose to the point where the badge fell off.

Even though this type of plate is no longer used, this makes the perfect item to display on the wall.  You could even have a collection of plates for your own hometown or for the state you live in.

The porcelain license plate can be seen in my Etsy store here.
Wouldn’t this look great on a vintage Model T?

1 comment:

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