Pre-state issues should exist for all counties, but not all are accounted for. Most counties would issue vehicle owners a number, and it would be up to the owner to display it on the vehicle. Examples include numbers painted on bumpers; house numbers attached to a leather strip; numbers engraved in a block of wood. Most were porcelain, though, and contracted to Ingram-Richardson Mfg. Co. in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania or Baltimore Enamel and Novelty Co. in Maryland. To cover the cost of making porcelains, many examples feature advertising, almost always by the dealer that sold the car. Known advertising: Gibbes Machinery Co (Columbia), W.E Vernon (Florence), G.C. Chandler (Florence), D.W. Alderman (Florence), DuPre Auto Co. (Columbia)

black-and-white image from a collector magazine, circa 1980's:

Pre-state issues known from the following counties:


This is one of the few known leather surviving plates from SC. House numbers tacked to a metal-base, leather wrapped.


Three porcelain variations known. Undated; 1914, 1917


The only known example is leather, abbreviated AND


House numbers on wood

BarnwellTwo porcelain variations known to exist, both undated. One with Gibbes Machinery advertising logo.


One porcelain variety known: motorcycle-sized; undated


One porcelain variety known; undated


One undated porcelain variety known. Marked both Cherokee and Gaffney.


One porcelain variety known; dated 1916


Three porcelain varieties known, all undated. D.W. Alderman and W.E. Vernon advertising known.


One variety of undated porcelain known.


Three undated variations known - all have dealer advertisement: D.W. Alderman, W.E. Vernon and G.C. Chandler


1915 metal known; 1917 porcelain known


Undated porcelain known.

House numbers affixed to wood. (Courtesy of SC State Museum)


Two undated porcelain varietys known.


1916 and 1917 known. Both stenciled onto painted metal.


Two undated porcelain varieties known; one with D.W. Alderman advertising logo.

One stenciled on wood known.


Believed to be the first known issue in South Carolina, beginning in 1910. Black plate is believed to have been in use for multiple years. 1916 motorcycle-sized porcelain known.

Gibbes Machinery Co. (shown) and DuPre Auto Co. advertising known on undated porcelains.

Saluda One undated porcelain variety known.

SpartanburgUndated porcelain known; 1916 porcelain known; 1916 motorcycle, curved fender porcelain known.

SumterOne undated porcelain variety known.

credit for some photos, and for more information, see

Local (city) plates are rare. Only large cities are believed to have issued local plates, generally only for use within the city for vehicle types such as buggies, taxis (hacks) or parking enforcement. Known issues are below:

1926 Charleston