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License plates are issued in the U.S. state of Ohio for several types of vehicles by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, part of the Department of Public Safety. Most types of plates are issued in pairs, to be displayed in the front and rear of the vehicle. They are made of galvanized steel[2] and manufactured by inmates at Ohio Penal Industries at the Lebanon Correctional Institution.[6][7] The Bureau of Motor Vehicles issues a new license plate design about every five years,[8] or with each new administration in the state government.[9]

History

On May 19, 1902, Cleveland became one of the first cities in the country to require motorists to display government-issued registration numbers on their vehicles.[10][11] In the following years, various local governments in Ohio issued standard metal plates of varying design or numerals (to be mounted on a dark background), including:

In 1906, the state attempted to take over auto registration under the Ward Automobile Law, but litigation delayed the program until the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the law. The Ohio Secretary of State's Automobile Division, precursor to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, was established in 1907.[12] The Ward Law went into effect on June 11, 1908, but the Automobile Division did not begin issuing plates for another 30 days due to a manufacturing defect.[5] The first state vehicle registration was issued to Cincinnati resident Thomas B. Paxton, Jr., for his Franklin automobile.[13] Locally issued and owner-provided license plates were phased out by 1909 for automobiles,[11] but local plates continued to be used for motorcycles until 1914.[5] One effect of the Ward Law was to eliminate a significant revenue stream for cities like Cincinnati, which took in about $5,000 a year (equivalent to $136,000 today) from auto registrations.[14]

Various Ohio license plate designs from 1908 to 1921 used distinctive monograms instead of a fully spelled-out state name.[13]

Passenger plates have always been issued in pairs with the exception of 1944–46, when only rear plates were issued due to metal conservation for World War II. Like many other states, Ohio issued single-year plates until the 1970s, except in 1943 and 1952 when windshield stickers were issued to revalidate the previous year's plates (due to metal conservation for World War II and the Korean War respectively). In 1953, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles commemorated the state's sesquicentennial by issuing a special front plate bearing the state shape and the word "sesqui-centennial" [sic] instead of the passenger serial, which was carried only on the rear plate. The 1973 plate was the last single-year plate; the 1974 plate was revalidated for 1975 with a sticker placed at the bottom right corner. The first undated, multi-year plate was issued in 1976, while staggered registration was introduced in 1979.[13]

A golf cart in Put-in-Bay displaying an Ohio Bicentennial passenger plate.

From 1935 through 1979, serials were allocated in blocks to each of the state's 88 counties. Serials were originally up to five characters in length and featured one or two letters. Increased demand resulted in the introduction of six-character serials in 1949, followed by all-numeric serials in 1962. The scheme was finally abandoned in 1980.[15]

Since 1983, plates have carried the county of issuance on a sticker. Originally, this was a long sticker centered at the bottom of the plate, displaying the county name.[3] In 1992, the state introduced a numerical county-coding scheme (see the County Coding section below), with the county number being displayed on a red sticker at the bottom left corner of the plate; this scheme was initially used only on specialty plates before being adopted on standard passenger plates when the Bicentennial base was introduced in October 2001.[7]

In 1956, the U.S. states and Canadian provinces came to an agreement with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council that standardized the size for license plates for vehicles (except those for motorcycles) at 6 inches (15 cm) in height by 12 inches (30 cm) in width, with standardized mounting holes.[16] The 1956 (dated 1957) issue was the first Ohio license plate that fully complied with these standards: the state had been issuing plates 6 inches in height by 12 inches in width since 1926, and all plates of the 1952 (dated 1953) and 1955 (dated 1956) issues were to these dimensions, but none had had standard mounting holes.[17]

In 1967, the state began issuing special plates to DUI offenders with limited driving privileges. Judges in Ohio, however, rarely issued them until a 2004 state law made it mandatory for all DUI offenders with limited driving privileges to have them.[18]

Passenger baseplates

1908 to 1973

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
1908 OH passenger plate.jpg 1908–09 White numbers on dark blue porcelain plate with stylized "OH" at right none 12345 1 to approximately 23500
1910 OH passenger plate.jpg 1910 White numbers on woodgrain-coloured porcelain plate none 12345 1 to approximately 33000
1911 OH passenger plate.jpg 1911 Black numbers on white porcelain plate none 12345 1 to approximately 46000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1912 Forest green numbers on white plate none 12345 1 to approximately 63000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1913 Maroon numbers on white plate none 12345 1 to approximately 86000
1914 OH passenger plate.jpg 1914 Red numbers on white plate with Ohio monogram at left none 123456 1 to approximately 121000
1915 OH passenger plate.jpg 1915 Black numbers on white plate with Ohio monogram at left none 123456 1 to approximately 181000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1916 White numbers on black plate none 123456 1 to approximately 245000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1917 Black numbers on yellow plate none 123456 1 to approximately 342000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1918 Embossed white numbers on dark green plate with Ohio monogram at right none 123456 1 to approximately 412000 First embossed plate.
1919 OH passenger plate.jpg 1919 Embossed white numbers on maroon plate with Ohio monogram at left none 123456 1 to approximately 509000
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1920 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate with Ohio monogram at left none 123456 1 to approximately 527000
1921 Ohio license plate.jpg 1921 Embossed white numbers on forest green plate with Ohio monogram at left and 19 over 21 at right none 123456 1 to approximately 618000
1922 Ohio license plate.jpg 1922 Embossed dark blue numbers on white plate none 123.456 1 to approximately 714.000
1923 Ohio license plate.jpg 1923 Embossed red numbers on gray plate none 123.456 1 to approximately 927.000
1924 Ohio license plate.jpg 1924 Embossed white numbers on dark blue plate none 123-456 1 to 999-999
★12-345 ★1 to approximately ★59-000
1925 Ohio license plate.JPG 1925 Black embossed lettering on off-white base none 123-456
★12-345
1926 OH passenger plate.jpg 1926 White embossed lettering on brown base none 123-456
★12-345
A12-345
1927 Ohio license plate.JPG 1927 Black embossed lettering on gray base none 123-456
★12-345
A12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1928 White embossed lettering on black base none 123-456
★12-345
A12-345
1929 Ohio license plate.JPG 1929 Black embossed lettering on lime green base none 123-456
A12-345
1930 Ohio license plate.jpg 1930 White embossed lettering on maroon base none 123-456
A12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1931 Black embossed lettering on gray base none 123-456
A12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1932 Black embossed lettering on neon orange base none 123-456
A12-345
1933 Ohio license plate.jpg 1933 Black embossed lettering on orange base none 123-456
A12-345
1934 Ohio license plate.JPG 1934 White embossed lettering on maroon base none 123-456
A12-345
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1935 Yellow on dark blue none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1936 Ohio license plate.JPG 1936 Blue embossed lettering on white base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1937 Ohio license plate.JPG 1937 Red embossed lettering and rims on white base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1938 Ohio license plate.JPG 1938 Black on white with black covered wagon silhouette[19] 150 Anniv·
N·W·Terr·
A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county Commemorated the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Northwest Territory, from which the state of Ohio was formed.
1939 Ohio license plate.JPG 1939 Dark blue embossed lettering and rims on white base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1940 Ohio license plate.JPG 1940 White embossed lettering and rims on black base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
Blank License Plate Shape.svg 1941 White on maroon none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1942 license plate.JPG 1942–43 Green embossed lettering and rims on white base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1943 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for World War II.
1944 Ohio license plate.jpg 1944 White on dark blue none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1945 Ohio license plate.JPG 1945 Black embossed lettering and rims on white base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1946 Ohio license plate.JPG 1946 Red embossed lettering and rims on white base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1947 Ohio license plate.JPG 1947 White embossed lettering and rims on green base none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1948 Ohio license plate.jpg 1948 Black on pale yellow none A·1234
AB·123
1234·A
123·AB
A·123·B
Issued in blocks by county
1949 Ohio license plate.jpg 1949 Yellow embossed lettering and border on black waffle-textured base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1950 OH passenger plate.jpg 1950 Black embossed lettering and border on yellow waffle-textured base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1951 Ohio license plate.jpeg 1951–52 White embossed lettering and border on navy base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1952 with windshield stickers, due to metal conservation for the Korean War.
1953 Ohio license plate.JPG 1953 Yellow embossed lettering and border on green base 1803 - 1953 A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county Commemorated Ohio's 150 years of statehood.
1954 Ohio license plate.JPG 1954 White embossed lettering and rims on maroon base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1955 Ohio license plate.jpg 1955 White embossed lettering and rims on dark blue base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1956 Ohio license plate.jpg 1956 White embossed lettering and rims on dark green base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1957 Ohio license plate.JPG 1957 White embossed lettering and border on brick red base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1958 Ohio license plate.JPG 1958 White embossed lettering and border on navy base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1959 OH passenger plate.jpg 1959 Red embossed lettering and border on white base none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1960 4045-CA.jpg 1960 Blue on yellow none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1961 Ohio license plate.JPG 1961 White on bright green none A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1962 Ohio license plate.JPG 1962 White on bright red none 12345
A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio license plate sample 000 A 1963.jpg 1963 White embossed lettering and border on dark blue base none 12345
A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
1964 Ohio license plate.JPG 1964 White embossed lettering and border on dark green base none 12345
A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1965 568SL.jpg 1965 Red on white none 12345
A·12345
AB·1234
12345·A
1234·AB
A·1234·B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1966 EJ3554.jpg 1966 White on maroon none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1967 17282 F.jpg 1967 White on blue none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county Over 1.4 million plates on this base were destroyed in a fire at the plate shop at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in November 1966; replacement plates were manufactured in New York, Arkansas and Nebraska using these states' number dies.[20]
OH 1968.jpg 1968 Red on white none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county Most plates manufactured in New York, using that state's dies, while the Lebanon plate shop was being repaired.
Ohio 1969 74623.jpg 1969 Blue on white none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county Some plates manufactured in New York, using that state's dies. Full manufacturing capacity at the Lebanon plate shop was restored by 1970.
Ohio 1970 Q 567.jpg 1970 Scarlet on gray none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county Issued in the colors of Ohio State University, in honor of its centennial.
Ohio 1971 M 309 A.jpg 1971 Black on yellow none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1972 Q 567.jpg 1972 Yellow on dark blue none 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio license plate sample 1973.jpg 1973 White on green Seat Belts Fastened? 12345
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county

1974 to present

All Ohio passenger plates issued since August 1996 are valid for display today, provided they have been continuously registered.

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Ohio 1974 803 VB.jpgOH 1975.jpg 1974–75 Green on reflective white Seat Belts Fastened? 123456
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county Revalidated for 1975 with stickers.
Ohio 1980 23062 B.jpg 1976–79 Red on reflective white none 123456
A 12345
AB 1234
12345 A
1234 AB
A 1234 B
Issued in blocks by county
Ohio 1985 GQF-423.jpg 1980–84 Blue on reflective white; state shape used as separator none ABC•123 AAA•001 to approximately UFU•999
1989 Ohio License Plate.jpg 1985 – December 1990 Green on reflective white; state shape used as separator none 123•ABC 001•AAA to approximately 999•YOZ
1991 Ohio License Plate.jpg January 1991 – November 1995 Blue on reflective white; state shape used as separator The Heart of it All! ABC•123 AAA•001 to approximately XEU•999
Ohio XGG 323 narrow dies.jpg November 1995 – July
1996
XEV•001 to YZZ•999 Narrower dies. Both variants revalidated until 2002.
1996 Ohio License Plate.jpg August 1996 – mid
1997
Dark blue on reflective white to gold gradient The Heart of it All! ABC 1234 AAA 1000 to approximately ARR 5900 Issued only to new registrants.
1999 Ohio License Plate.jpg Mid 1997 – September 2001 Birthplace of Aviation ARR 5901 to approximately BIF 9999; CAA 1000 to approximately CVV 9999
Ohio license plate sample 2001.jpg October 2001 – February 2004 Dark blue on reflective white with Ohio Bicentennial Commission logo and red and blue bars Ohio Bicentennial;
Birthplace of Aviation
AB12CD AA01AA to approximately FC99KV Issued to new registrants and as replacements for 1991–96 plates.
Ohio license plate sample 2004.jpg February 2004 – November 30, 2010 "Sunburst": Dark blue on reflective white with state seal graphic and red and blue bars Birthplace of Aviation ABC 1234 DAA 1000 to EQZ 9999; EUJ 1000 to FAK 9999 Issued concurrently with the "Beautiful Ohio" base (below) from November 23, 2009.
2010 OH passenger plate.png November 23, 2009 – April 14, 2013 "Beautiful Ohio": Dark blue on rolling hills with farm, distant skyline, and airborne biplane Beautiful Ohio;
Birthplace of Aviation
ABC 1234 ERA 1000 to EUH 9999; FAL 1000 to FVZ 9999 Originally issued as a no-cost alternative to the "Sunburst" base, before replacing it as the standard base on December 1, 2010. Largely designed by Frances Strickland.[19]
Ohio license plate 2013.jpg April 15, 2013 – present "Ohio Pride": Word cloud background and red triangle resembling an airplane wing Birthplace of Aviation;
DiscoverOhio.com;
46 "slogans" total, including facts and famous names[1]
ABC 1234 FWA 1000 to HKE 9999 (as of March 21, 2018) Current standard license plate. Remaining "Beautiful Ohio" plates melted and recycled into this design so that materials were not wasted. Designed by Aaron Roberts[4] and chosen among four concept drawings put forward by the CCAD Design Group.[9]

Alternative passenger plates

Image Dates issued Design Slogan Serial format Serials issued Notes
Ohio license plate issued to DUI offenders sample.jpg 1967–present Red on yellow none 123456
1234567
For DUI offenders with limited driving privileges. Issued since 1967 but rarely used before the plate became mandated on all DUI offenders in 2004.

Non-passenger plates

From 1976 until 1996, license plates for pickup trucks and other light truck-related vehicles (SUVs and conversion vans aside) were issued truck plates that said "Non Comm" (for "non-commercial truck") while semi-trucks were issued plates that said "Commercial". Since 1996, however, the more consumer-oriented truck plates now say "Truck," instead of "Non-Comm."

Temporary tags

This diagram illustrates how to fill out a 2001-series temporary tag. The plate number is preprinted, while the expiration date and vehicle details are written in permanent marker.

Vehicles purchased from a dealership are given a 30-day temporary tag. The paper tag is filled out by hand. Since March 2001, it has featured a hologram.[21][22]

County coding

Ohio uses a numerical county-coding scheme to indicate the county of registration. The scheme assigns a two-digit number to each of the state's 88 counties in alphabetical order, beginning with 01 for Adams County and ending with 88 for Wyandot County.

The county number is displayed on red stickers placed on the lower left corner of both the front and rear plates. The stickers also display the county name, in small print below the number.

List of county numbers

Reserved series

On recent seven-character baseplates, the state has reserved certain letter series to be issued in coordination with specific car dealerships or leasing agencies.

Series Assigned to
FAC First Automotive Corp., Cincinnati
GLR Grand Leasing and Sales
GAN Ganley Automotive Lease
HON Honda
HOM Honda of Mentor
JAY Jay Auto Group, Bedford
JSL Jake Sweeney Leasing, Cincinnati
LAS Shaker Auto Leasing
LEX Metro Lexus
LXS Metro Lexus
MAL Mike Albert Resale Center and Leasing, Cincinnati
MBZ Mercedes-Benz
MCT Motorcars Toyota, Cleveland Heights
MCH Motorcars Honda, Cleveland Heights
MET Metro Toyota, Cleveland
MGM Marshall Goldman Motors
MKB MKB Leasing, Marietta
MVP Classic Auto Group (Cleveland area/Northeast Ohio)
NON Nissan of North Olmsted
SUN Sunnyside, Cleveland
SSA Sunnyside Audi
SSH Sunnyside Honda
SST Sunnyside Toyota
TOB Toyota of Bedford
TOY Toyota
VCJ Adventure Chrysler Jeep, Willoughby
WIN Classic Auto Group (Cleveland area/Northeast Ohio)

References

  1. ^ a b "New Ohio Pride License Plate". Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 2012. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Blackwell, Brandon (January 29, 2013). "Ohio license plate recall brings more questions than answers". The Plain Dealer. Advance Publications. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Nicholson, David (June 15, 2013). "Ohio License Plates, 1969-present". 15q.net. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Luce, Lacey (November 28, 2011). "CCAD, Governor Unveil New Ohio License Plate Design". Columbus College of Art and Design. Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Taylor, Eric Robert (January 20, 2013). "Ohio Archive". PorcelainPlates.net. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ ""Flat" License Plates Now Issued For Made-To-Order Plates" (Press release). Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Ohio Department of Public Safety. August 12, 2003. Archived from the original on December 2, 2003. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Pulfer, Mike (June 3, 2002). "Ask A Stupid Question". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Beautiful Ohio ousts sunburst as state plate". The Blade. Toledo, Ohio: Block Communications. June 7, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b McNair, James (July 31, 2013). "Is Ohio's New License Plate the Worst or Just Bad?". Cincinnati CityBeat. SouthComm. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Tanner, Eric N. "Ohio License Plates - Prestate City/County". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Raiche, Steve. "Old Ohio License Plates". LeatherLicensePlates.com. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  12. ^ "ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles History". Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Ohio BMV Chronological History 1908-2010 (PDF). Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Minor Mention". The Horseless Age. Horseless Age Company. 21: 617. May 20, 1908. Under the new Ward automobile law, which has recently passed into effect in Ohio, the cities cannot license automobiles, and lose thereby a substantial income, Cincinnati, for instance, about $5,000 a year. 
  15. ^ Tanner, Eric N. "Ohio License Plates - Home". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  16. ^ Garrish, Christopher (October 2016). "Reconsidering the Standard Plate Size". Plates. Vol. 62 no. 5. Automobile License Plate Collectors Association. 
  17. ^ Tanner, Eric N. "Ohio License Plates - Sizes". allaboutlicenseplates.com. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  18. ^ Shaw, Stephen. "Ohio's DUI Scarlet Letter Plates". ABC DUI Online. Shaw Education Development. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Blundo, Joe (June 7, 2010). "LUV IT or H8 IT". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ohio BMV Chronological History 1908-2015" (PDF). Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 2014. p. 14. Retrieved February 23, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Issuing Requirements". Dealer Licensing Division, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 2009-12-01. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  22. ^ "ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles History". Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 

External links