Reverse of color sample




















Multi-colored promotional sign







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Door push

PORCELAIN PLATES.NET
A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
Ingram-Richardson
In 1901, two Englishmen, Louis Ingram and Ernest
Richardson, turned the fledgling Enameled Iron
Company of Beaver Falls, PA into the porcelain-enamel
powerhouse, Ingram-Richardson.  In addition to license
plates, the company made street signs, and signs for
the big national industries including oil, soap, ice cream
and others, including companies from overseas.  They
also manufactured panels for building exteriors, as well
as table tops, refrigerators & stove parts, and other
products for the home.

Ing-Rich built plants in three other states as well. The
17-acre Ingram Richardson site in Frankfort, Indiana, for
instance, began operations in 1915 and produced
porcelain enamel frit for steel, cast iron, and other
porcelain products.  At its peak, Ingram-Richardson
employed over 1000 people.  Noted for their durability,
Ing-Rich became one of the leading producers of
porcelain enamel products in the U.S. and would
continue making porcelain products well past the
porcelain license plate era.  

In terms of license plates, the company is known to
have produced dozens of plates for at least 9 different
states, primarily in New England and elsewhere in the
North-East.  However, Ing-Rich's influence extended all
the way to California, where that state's first two issues were manufactured across the
country in Beaver Falls - and not without controversy.  Ing-Rich also provided some
plates to the District of Columbia, and is the only U.S. manufacturer known to have
produced any of the Canadian porcelains - in this case the 1911 New Brunswick plates.  
Interestingly, the company does not seem to have had much luck obtaining contracts in
smaller city and county markets.  Unlike Baltimore Enamel, Ing-Rich is known to have
secured a grand total of only two contracts to provide such plates.  All together,
Ing-Rich was the second most prolific company to supply porcelain license plates
behind only the Baltimore Enamel & Novelty Company.  









The earliest plates known to have been manufactured by Ing-Rich are the Pennsylvania
1906 state issues.  On these first plates, the company seal was a very small five-line text
stamp.  In 1907, the words "MADE BY" were dropped and the text was now in three
lines.  Then in 1909, the seal changed yet again, now a massive 7 line text stamp.  The
most dramatic change came in 1912 when the company adopted an elaborate round seal
approximately 2" in diameter.  That same year, a slightly larger version of this seal was
being used simultaneously, this one a quarter-inch larger in diameter.  Perhaps the
most interesting change, however, came in 1914 when Ing-Rich created a company
stamp specifically designed to mark their license plates (as opposed to any other
porcelain signs they would have been making at the time).  This three-line text stamp
read "porcelain auto tag."  As with other porcelain manufacturers, the color of the
stamps depended on the base color of the enamel on the reverse. Plates with white
backs usually got an imprint in black lettering, while plates with black backs received a
yellow Ing-Rich stamp.






























The manufacture of porcelain license plates was
big business, and Ing-Rich wanted in on the
profits.  In 1907, Pennsylvania's contract with
Ingram-Richardson called for 14,000 pairs of plates
at between 18 and 23 cents a pair.  By 1911,
Ing-Rich's contract with the state of Ohio
stipulated an initial order of some 4,000 pairs at  31
cents each.  And by 1914, pairs of California plates
were running 43 cents, resulting in a contract
worth nearly $40,000.  Although they never could
duplicate the success of Baltimore Enamel, they
far and away outshine the third-place contender.  
In essence, BALTO and Ing-Rich waged a two
company battle for supremacy over the business.  

Ingram-Richardson is not known to have produced
porcelain license plates after 1916, but the
company continued to thrive, in part due
to their reputation in the plate business.  In 1919,
for instance, Ing-Rich was awarded a more than
$5,000 contract to provide 1,500 street signs to
the city of Sandusky, PA at a cost of 35 cents each.  
During World War II, the plant converted to making
armor plate for the American tanks.


































































FURTHER READING:

Oakland Tribune, December 26, 1913
The Sandusky Register (Ohio), April 15, 1919
The Van Wert Daily Bulletin (Ohio), August 4, 1910
Ing-Rich promotional sign
(ca. 1910), advertising
"automobile license
plates" for sale
Sometimes the laborers
marking these plates got
a bit carried away.  This
PA 1909 plate was
stamped three times!







Ing-Rich Mark, 1909-1911







Ing-Rich Mark, 1912-???







Ing-RIch Mark, 1907-1908







Ing-Rich Mark, 1906







Ing-Rich Mark, 1914-1916







Ing-Rich Mark, 1912-???
CONTRACTS KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN HELD BY INGRAM-RICHARDSON

1904

1906

1907


1908


1909



1910


1911






1912



1913



1914



1915







1916
Philadelphia, PA city plates

Pennsylvania state plates

Pennsylvania state plates
Scranton, PA city plates

Massachusetts state plates
Pennsylvania state plates

Connecticut "Block C" state plates (some Ing-Rich, others unmarked)
Pennsylvania state plates
Virginia state plates

Connecticut state plates
Pennsylvania state plates

Connecticut state plates
Maine state plates (late issues only)
New Brunswick provincial plates
New Hampshire state plates (late issues only)
Ohio state plates
Pennsylvania state plates

Connecticut state plates
Maine state plates
Massachusetts state plates

Maine state plates
Massachusetts state plates
Virginia state plates

California state plates
Connecticut state plates (plates unmarked)
Massachusetts state plates

California state plates
Connecticut state plates (plates unmarked)
District of Columbia plates
Maine state plates
Massachusetts state plates
New Hampshire state plates
Vermont state plates

Connecticut state plates (plates unmarked)
Lee, Florida county plates
Columbia, South Carolina city plates







 The Oakland Tribune, December 26, 1913
As one bitter editorial in the
Oakland Tribune observed:
"An automobile tag is not
such a marvelous product of the
artisan that factories
in this state
cannot fashion it."

OHIO 1911 PORCELAINS:
___________________

"State Register Coley had samples
submitted by five competing firms...
The enameled plates were given a
boiling water test; a boiling acid
test; acid vapor test and an impact
test.  The impact test was a
succession of blows from a hammer
weighing a kilogram.  The first plate
broke after twenty five blows, the
second after 40, the third after 50
and the fourth after 60.  It took 100
blows to break the plate which was
selected.  The contract was
awarded to the Ingram-Richardson
Manufacturing Company of
Beaver Falls, Pa."

The Van Wert Daily Bulletin,
August 4, 1910

EXAMPLES OF PLATES
MANUFACTURED BY
INGRAM-RICHARDSON
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1904






1906






1907






1908






1909






1910






1911






1912






1913






1914






1915






1916
























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