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1893 – France becomes the first country to introduce motor vehicle registration.
A vehicle registration plate, also known as a number plate (British English) or a license plate (American English), is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Whether they are required for other vehicles, such as bicycles, boats, or tractors, may vary by jurisdiction. The registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric ID that uniquely identifies the vehicle owner within the issuing region’s vehicle register. In some countries, the identifier is unique within the entire country, while in others it is unique within a state or province. Whether the identifier is associated with a vehicle or a person also varies by issuing agency.
France was the first country to introduce the registration plate with the passage of the Paris Police Ordinance on August 14, 1893, followed by Germany in 1896. The Netherlands was the first country to introduce a nationally registered licence plate, called a “driving permit”, in 1898. Initially these plates were just sequentially numbered, starting at 1, but this was changed in 1906.
In the U.S., where each state issues plates, New York State has required plates since 1903 (black numerals on a white background) after first requiring in 1901 that only the owner’s initials be clearly visible on the back of the vehicle. At first, plates were not government issued in most jurisdictions and motorists were obliged to make their own. In 1903, Massachusetts was the first state to issue plates.
UK plates were first required from 1 January 1904 by the 1903 Motor Car Act.
1848 – Margaret Lindsay Huggins, Anglo-Irish astronomer and author (d. 1915)
Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins (born 14 August 1848, Dublin – died 24 March 1915, London), born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer. With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-authored the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).
When Huggins was young, her mother died and her father remarried, leaving her on her own much of the time. Obituaries written by her friends attribute her interest in astronomy to her grandfather, a wealthy bank officer named Robert Murray. According to these sources, Margaret’s grandfather taught her the constellations, and as a result of this she began studying the heavens with home-made instruments. She constructed a spectroscope after finding inspiration in articles on astronomy in the periodical Good Words.
Huggins’ interest and abilities in spectroscopy led to her introduction by noted astronomical instrument maker Howard Grubb to the astronomer William Huggins, whom she married on 8 September 1875 in the Parish Church at Monkstown, County Dublin. Evidence suggests that Huggins was instrumental in instigating William Huggins’ successful program in photographic research. She was a contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.
The London Times, in the notice of the death of Huggins, mentioned that Richard Proctor referred to her as the “Herschel of the Spectroscope”. In her will she bequeathed to Wellesley College and to Wellesley College Whitin Observatory some of her astronomy collection including cherished astronomical artifacts.
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