The Michigan Plate

Some people collect them and car collectors hunt high and low for a plate that is the same year as their car. Today I read that Adrian, Michigan has cornered the market on Michigan license plate production. One and a half million of them a year plus another 6,000 or more special plates. I always thought the plates were made in Jackson State Prison, but I was wrong. Well, not totally because they are made in prison. A smaller one in Adrian with a more controlable population. And Jackson did start making them in 1910.

In 1843 prisoners made harnesses and other farm equipment, woolen and cotton goods, carpeting, farm tools, saddle trees and trimmings, steam engines and boilers, barrels and copper ware. Other contracts were established for the manufacturing of shoes and laundry products.for outside companies. No wages, but the State was paid. This went on until 1900.

In 1922, the state began to operate its own factories but continued to sell the products on the open market. Over the years Michigan prisoners have mined coal, manufactured bricks and tile, cigars, tombstones and binder twine. In 1935 they could only made supplies for tax-supported institutions and state offices. In 1980, the state Correctional Industries Act was amended to allow the prisons to sell its products to nonprofit organizations, to governmental institutions in other states and to the federal government. It allows Michigan agencies, offices and departments to buy goods from them if they are comparable in price and quality to those produced elsewhere and can be supplied in a reasonable time period.

All leaving private industry with that job loss.

Cyprus Plate

You have to love Cyprus for this one. The plate is made of plastic and you can get it made up at your local key shop. When the front-end of my car got clipped a few years ago I needed a new plate. Off to the key shop, all I needed was the numbers and it didn't even cost me €5. They are probably higher now, but still cheap I am sure. No proof of the number required....I love it.