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Automobile license plates 85 years ago


The recent news release about the new format Kentucky license plates available late next year

caught my eye, as news of a similar vein had crossed my line of sight earlier that day.

A front page article in the Adair County News 85 years ago this week -- mid-December 1934 -- advised readers that vehicular license tags for 1935 were available.

The license plates, manufactured by convict labor at the Frankfort Reformatory for the fifth straight year, were yellow with black lettering and of the same dimensions as the ones for 1934. Ewell Moore, supervisor of production, reported the cost at six cents per pair. (Beginning in 1929, both front and rear tags were required.) Mr. Moore also stated that in 1930, the last year of production by a private concern, the cost was nearly triple that amount at seventeen cents per pair.

The article went on state that for 1935, the prison plant had turned out 300,000 tags for automobiles, 30,000 for trucks, 1,000 motorcycles, and 1,700 in transit tags.

County Court Clerk W.E. Harris noted that persons who had asked that a certain number tag be reserved should "call and pay for them at once" as it would be impossible to hold them for very long. He also reported that so far, only ten vehicles in the county had been licensed.

Governor Lafoon gave an extension until late January to relicense automobiles, so by the first of the year only 150 Adair County cars sported new plates, with Clerk Harris expecting a rush to buy in the closing days of the month. There were three price point for automobile tags -- $6.00, $7.20, and $12.00 -- depending on the horsepower of the vehicle. In today's money, that would around $115, $137, and $230, respectively.

This story was posted on 2019-12-10 09:23:04
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