Ohio license plate revised the Wright way

By Jim Provance - The (Toledo) Blade (TNS)

The original version of a new license plate for Ohio had the Wright Brothers’ flyer facing the wrong direction.

The original version of a new license plate for Ohio had the Wright Brothers’ flyer facing the wrong direction.

Courtesy of Ohio Governor’s Office

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday unveiled a new standard license plate design that contains one major flaw — the red banner declaring Ohio as the “Birthplace of Aviation” is attached to the wrong side of the historic Wright Flyer pulling it across the top of the plate.

“That’s the front of the flyer. That’s the elevator,” said Amiee Ginnever, an interpretive park ranger for the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Social media was immediately abuzz after the plate’s unveiling in Ohio about the apparent error. The problem is that inmates at the Lebanon Correctional Institution have already been manufacturing the new plates for several days.

The Wright Flyer on the plate is pulling the banner from the front of the plane rather than the rear. The pilot faced the smaller section with his back to the large wings, the opposite of the appearance of more modern small aircraft.

“We are aware that the plane on the new Ohio license plate unveiled this morning was oriented in the wrong direction,” said Lindsey Bohrer, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. “We regret this mistake and have fixed the image.”

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued a revised design later Thursday that reverses the direction of the plane. Ms. Bohrer said the 35,000 plates already printed will be recycled, but she had not estimated the additional cost involved.

The new plate somewhat resembles the colorful “Beautiful Ohio” plate of the Strickland administration a decade ago.

The blue, yellow, green, red, and wheat colors combine rural and urban elements of the state. It features a city skyline — no Ohio city in particular — and the sun in the background, a wheat field in the foreground, a river, and the figures of a girl swinging under a tree and her dog, all under a red banner that is pulled across the top of the plate by the Wright Brothers’ plane.

“Fran and I wanted something that reflected the beauty of Ohio,” the governor said.

The Wright Brothers theme was important to the DeWines, given the historic initial test work that occurred near their Dayton-area home.

An estimated 40,000 unsold current license plates will be recycled as the new plate is made available on Dec. 29.

DeWine said the resemblance of the new “Sunrise in Ohio” plate to the Strickland era plate, partly designed by then first lady Frances Strickland, was coincidental. But he admitted the resemblance.

First Lady Fran DeWine said the primary inspiration was the state seal.

“We also wanted the plate to represent the diversity of Ohio in sense of the geography of Ohio,” Gov. DeWine said.

In consultation with the DeWines, the final design was created by Greg Wyatt, visual communications manager at the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The governor said he found that the tiny dog silhouette looked like a Springer Spaniel, the type of pet at the DeWine homestead in Cedarville.

Ohio’s current standard plate, in use since 2013, features a red triangle at the top representing an airplane wing as well as crowded light gray lettering of different sizes against a white field. The lettering notes numerous things like the Buckeye State, Birthplace of Aviation, Home of Edison, Heart of it All, Rock & Roll, and other things associated with Ohio’s past and present that are often difficult to read unless tailgating.

Ohioans will only need one of the plates, which will be made available at the end of the year. This marks the first new design rollout since Ohio dropped its mandate that vehicles have front license plates as well as rear as of July 1, 2020.

When asked if he still wants to restore the front-plate mandate, DeWine said simply, “Yes.”

Vehicle owners have the option of ordering one or two plates for their vehicles, the second one coming at a slight extra charge. But Charlie Norman, registrar for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said there shouldn’t be an issue with a vehicle having two types of plates. The state issues about 2.1 million new plates. There is no requirement for vehicle owners to buy plates when they renew their registrations.

Each new administration typically rolls out its own take on images that attempt to make impressions not only on fellow Ohioans but also non-Ohioans who see the plate on highways inside and outside the state. The current plate was rolled out by DeWine’s predecessor, Gov. John Kasich.

The state also offers a variety of special plates — such as those recognizing certain universities, organizations, and environmental causes — with extra fees supporting those causes. Lawmakers are poised to soon add more specialty offerings.

The original version of a new license plate for Ohio had the Wright Brothers’ flyer facing the wrong direction.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/10/web1_Sunrise-in-Ohio.jpgThe original version of a new license plate for Ohio had the Wright Brothers’ flyer facing the wrong direction. Courtesy of Ohio Governor’s Office

By Jim Provance

The (Toledo) Blade (TNS)

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