The Story of License Plates

Located in Gross Aubel, a small town in the east of Germany, is the only License Plate Museum in the world. Part of the museum’s collection is an oblong metal plate with only a “1” written on it —this is the oldest license plate that has been preserved. It was issued in 1899 by the Munich police department to a vehicle owner, Bayi Swot.

The world’s first license plate was the idea of a German noblewoman. When Karl Benz made the world’s first car, it became the new favorite “must-have” item for rich people. To distinguish her car from others, Bertha Benz (the wife of Karl Benz) made a ferric plate, writing her name and address on it.

At first, the license plate was able to be placed anywhere on the car. The vehicle owner was responsible for the design of the plate, including the size, color and style until the early 1900s, when Germany began to unify the license plate system.

Lexiophiles has decided to discuss license plates in different countries. Here you can find our posts regarding the following countries:

Italy: English | Italiano

Germany: English | Deutsch

Sweden: English | Svenska

China: English | 汉语

Japan: English | 日本语

France & Belgium: English | Français

Portuguese: English | Português

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