In April 1917, the State Highway Department was established and it took over the vehicle registration duties from the county. On July 1, 1917, the statewide registration process began and the state issued the first official Texas license plates. The white on dark blue embossed iron plates were undated and intended to be permanent. The letters “TEX” went down the right side and 400,000 pairs were made in the first batch. A round “radiator seal” (white on red) was used to validate the plate. In the first year, 194,720 vehicles were registered.
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