Four Epic Fails in USA’s License Plate History

Every state’s license plate has undergone some change throughout the years. Nowadays, some might not look anything like they used to. That means they’re constantly getting updated to look as best they can. However, some changes proved to be failures that only angered state folk. Sometimes, officials get it wrong, and these older iterations show where.

Four Epic Fails in the United States of America License Plate HistoryIdaho’s 1928 License Plate Fail

Idaho’s vehicle plate in 1928 was the first among other states to have an image, but that soon proved to be a mistake for the state. The strangely elongated potato on the plate not only became a cliche but served as a symbol of cars traveling for agriculture. The plate was so iconic that people started stealing them as souvenirs, which quickly made officials eschew them only a year later.

Ohio’s Plate Fail 1998 to Present

Although Orville and Wilbur Wright first flew on the outer banks of North Carolina – they were born in, and conceived their famous flying machine, in Ohio. That’s why state officials decided to put the iteration Birthplace of Aviation on the license plate of vehicles. They wanted to honor the Wright brothers and beat out the iteration North Carolina had put on its plates – First in Flight. Ohio’s vintage plates can still be seen on some cars even today.

Alaska’s 1997 Bear Illustration

Alaska’s first mistake for its 1997 license plate bear illustration was not asking permission for the actual image. They copied the picture from the Complete Book of Hunting, but as it turned out, the original artist, Douglas Allen, had never even been to Alaska – he sketched the bear at the Bronx Zoo. But that wasn’t the biggest problem. Many residents commented that the bear looked like a ‘bad taxidermy job’ or a fat guy in a suit. Officials were forced to retire the bear image in 1981 but adopted it again in 2015.

Massachusett’s Fish Fail

The small fish illustrated on the Massachusetts plate caused quite an uproar and had to be relinquished after two consequent years of horrible fishing seasons. The residents believed the fish was a bad omen, even after the officials changed it to appear as if it were swimming toward the word ‘Mass’ – no one was happy. After the bad fishing season in 1929, the state got rid of the fish – it was the simplest thing to do.

What can state officials take away from all the license plate failures throughout the years? They must be very careful when thinking up iterations and images to put on their plates. While some might enjoy a more playful approach, others may not be so pleased with fails – but they sure make for a great souvenir!