The Way Cool License Plate Book
Reviewed: December 27, 2002
By: Leonard Wise
Publisher: Firefly Books
64 Pages, $9.95
book like this would not have come into being without the rise of the so-called
“vanity plate”. This is such a recent innovation in the history of vehicle
registration that it might not occur to mostly of us that it’s really a return
to the origins of the plate.
1901,” writes Leonard Wise, “ (the licence plate) was nothing more than the
owner’s initials painted on the back of the vehicle.” The size and shape of
these letters was standardized for the ease of the police, and vehicles were
assigned registration numbers. At that point, these were painted or fastened to
a plate that was still owner made.
only took two years for the state (Massachusetts, in this case) to get into the
act and issue the first metal plates. It was 1937 before the vanity plate began
to make a comeback, no doubt made possible by the improvements in record
keeping technology during the interim.
is a book full of pictures of vanity plates. Near the beginning of the book
Wise presents a collection of licence plate based travel games (rainbow bingo,
alphabet hunt, EZ Bingo, etc.) to help harried parents survive the rigours of
the family trip, but the main purpose of the book is to collect and present
pictures of clever and amusing combinations of letters and numbers.
the promotional material for the book suggests, lots of plates are selected by
their owners JST4FUN and using some of the ideas in the books will make it just
as EZ AS PI to travellers to have fun with them, too.
the author is Canadian, the vast majority of these plates are American. Wise
has assembled his collection in categories. From occupations we have I FIX-BAX
(a chiropractor), BOWK4U (a florist), HIZZONR (a judge), K9 TUTTR (dog
trainer), CGOOD (an optometrist) and REALST8 (a realtor).
categories include animals, sports terms, exclamations, car terms and sayings.
If you do have a long trip in your future, this book might come in handy. You
might as well GO4IT; it could be an XLNT choice.