Starting in 1937, plates became ‘permanent’- motorists received a date tab upon yearly renewal, instead of new plates as had been done in the past. These thick aluminum plates were used for 10 years.
Several variations were made towards the end of this series. During the wartime, plates were made of steel rather than aluminum. Some of the plates have the back side painted a tan color, while later ones are painted gray. The first number of these plates (upper left digit) ranged from 2 through 7.
Next, in 1946, aluminum again became available and plates resumed in the pre-war style. These started late in the ‘7’ series and the first plates of this style had silver paint over the aluminum. The aluminum plates continued through the ‘8’ series, with soon returning to the bare-aluminum style. Late in 1946 or early 1947, brass was used for the plates. This was excess material from the war effort. However, the paint did not adhere to these plates well at all. This, in conjunction with the softness of the brass, makes decent examples of these plates hard to find today. The first digit on these brass plates is ‘9’.
In 1947 the state went back to aluminum yet again. Perhaps realizing that the 10-year run of these plates was nearly up, a very thin aluminum was used. These plates bent and became damaged very easily, and also suffered from corrosion. Decent examples of this type are hard to find as well. These plates usually have a letter over a number for the first two digit. Some 1947 tabs on renewed registrations were made of brass.
New base plates were issued starting with the ’48 expiration. These were reflective, with a yellow scotchlite coating. The prongs on the tabs were reversed. Unfortunately, this material did not hold up well on the roads and flaked off the plates. Many of these plates are missing the reflectorization completely.
Yellow ’40’ Tab
Natural Aluminum ’41’ tab
with ‘waffled’ texture.
1942. This base was used from
1937 through 1947.
The little date tab in the center
was replaced every year.
1943 Low Number
The tabs during wartime were not aluminum, so they were subject to rusting and flaking paint.
Back to thick aluminum plates.
Thin aluminum plate. It is difficult to find examples of this plate style which are this nice.
Brass tab on renewed registration plate. Much like the paint didn’t stick to the brass plates, it didn’t stick to the brass tabs either.
1948 – New aluminum plates with reflective yellow ‘scotchlite’ backgrounds were introduced.