Cities and states across the country were soon passing laws regulating the speed of automobiles, the equipment they were required to carry, the roads they were and weren't allowed to use, etc.And to ensure that these new laws were not ignored - cars began to be licensed and "tagged." Of course, finicky vehicle owners were not at all pleased with the crusade against them and their "devil wagons" as the press frequently labeled automobiles.By the turn of the century, commercially manufactured vehicles were now available, but they remained a luxury item that few could afford.Bought by the adventurous gentry, automobiles were more for sport than transportation.
Delaware caught the porcelain bug in 1909 with the first of 7 annual dated issues from the state, and although New Jersey had begun issuing plates in 1908, 1909 was the first year they issued porcelains.
However, the motoring elite quickly developed a reputation nationwide for recklessness and disregard for the safety of others.
Newspapers in the first decade of the 20th century were filled with reports of injuries and deaths caused by speeding drivers.
The infrastructure was not yet set up, roads remained unpaved, and industries set up to service and repair vehicles were in their infancy.
In these early years, vehicles were a part of an owner’s very identity, and everyone in town knew who owned which cars.
Plates from jurisdictions such as Sewickley, PA; Catlettsburg and Newport, KY; and the first of a run of at least 6 annual issues from Wheeling, WV are also known from 1909.