The stiffening ring was used by some early makers of leather plates; this allowed the use of much thinner leather (thus requiring the steel support ring). The use of standard sized support rings limited a plate’s length to a uniform standard and it introduced a ferrous metal that can rust and stain the leather. Instead we have chosen to use two layers of substantial 12-14oz bridal leather which results in a plate that’s typically 1/2″ thick.
While this era is known as the Brass Era, in truth manufacturers and buyers alike couldn’t wait until nickel and chrome plating came along. In the meantime plate makers gave their customers the new, non-tarnishing aluminum numbers and letters.
Our numbers and letters are aluminum stampings made using century old dies with the same Roman (serif) font commonly found on original early plates. Often, when repairing an original plate, we can use our stock font numbers and letters to match the originals. Our newly created monograms are cut from aircraft grade flat stock aluminum (.125″ thick); this is the same alloy as our stampings: 6061 Aluminum T-6 Just as was done 100+ years ago, the majority of monograms were individually cut from flat stock aluminum. For example: taken directly from the 1911 Beckley-Ralston catalog page (illustrated on our Home Page) “Hand-sawed monograms can be supplied for any state desired from factory only.”
No, but only for a very good reason. By 1921 the Pre-State era had disappeared in the USA. As a matter of policy I make plates that are identical to the vehicle owner supplied plates made “back in the day” before the states individually switched to the now accepted method of state supplied license plates. I consider any plate that copies a government issued plate to be a fraud and breaking the law. My plates are made in the same manner as our predecessors did over 100 years ago.
While historically most of the pre-state leather plates were aluminum numbers/monograms mounted on black leather, examples for nearly every “pre-state” state exist with black numbers/monograms mounted on white leather. New York State was the only state that, for a short time period, required white leather with black numbers. We’ve been searching for years for suitable white leather while still maintaining the thick (11-12oz.) leather suitable for making our leather plates. Finally, we’ve found a new source and can now offer white leather plates (utilizing black leather on the backside) and we have found a suitable, near indestructible satin black finish for the numbers/monograms. Pricing information can be found on the Information and Order Form.
No, we cannot make a registrable or display license plate for a 1910 MASS plate because the State of Massachusetts started issuing plates in 1903. Making a plate for a 1910 MASS automobile would be illegally reproducing or replacing a state issued plate. However we can make a Marque, Model or Year plate for display on the front of a car.