A Website for Porcelain License Plate Collectors & Enthusiasts
The Quayle Enamel Company
Although there are no porcelain license plates marked with the "Quayle Enamel"
stamp, this Albany, New York based company was trying to become a player in the
game in the early teens.  The company was owned and operated by Oliver A.
Quayle, an influential businessman in Albany who was a former officer in the New
York State Automobile Association.  New York newspapers show him as Vice
President of that organization in 1904, President by 1906, and Chairman of the
Association's Legislative Committee in 1909.     

The first porcelain contract the company
secured was for the Connecticut 1913 state
issues.  The
Hartford Courant announced in July
of 1912 that Quayle had submitted the lowest of
four bids to the Secretary of State.  Accordingly,
state officials made the decision to turn away
from industry giant Ingram-Richardson, which
had made the state's prior two year of license
plates, and give the untested Quayle a shot.  As
it turned out, this was not a wise decision.  
Although the state law stipulated that vehicles
have the new blue & white plates by January 1,
it was announced in the press that day that
Quayle had not been able to deliver a sufficient
supply of plates to meet the demand.  5,000
plates were still on their way from Albany and
the Secretary of State authorized an extension until the 10th of the month.  When
that deadline rolled around, the plates had still not arrived and the Automobile
Department was forced to authorize another ten days of grace, with the new
deadline now being January 20th.  As the
Courant explained the second
extension, "the representative of Quayle... was at the Capitol yesterday and said
that all the markers are now on their way here.  He ascribed the delay in delivery
to inability to get the metal on which the numbers are enameled, and which is
imported."  Apparently, the plates soon arrived, and the remainder of the contract
was filled without incident.  In all, Quayle produced upwards of 55,000 plates of all
classes that year, including passenger, dealer, livery, manufacturer, motorcycle,
motorcycle dealer and motorcycle manufacturer porcelains.

During the production of the Connecticut 1913 plates, Quayle also bid on and won
the contract to provide the state of Indiana with its first-issue porcelains that
same year.  Secretary of State Ellingham awarded Quayle the contract in May,
selecting it from among seven total bidders.  The contract stipulated that 25,000
plates be delivered by June 15.  Much like the case with the Connecticut plates,
however, Quayle had great difficulty supplying the plates on time and lengthy
delays were the result.  Although the plates were only good for six months (July 1
– December 31), owners in Auburn, Indiana didn't receive their plates until late
July.  And not until mid-August did a sufficient supply of 15,000-20,000 plates
finally arrive at the Secretary of State's office in Indianapolis for distribution.  

Interestingly, this contract resulted in a breach of contract lawsuit brought
against Oliver A. Quayle and the Quayle Enamel Company in Indiana's Marion
Circuit Court.  Filed on August 23rd of 1913, the suit alleged that the plaintiff,
Harry J. Herff, was an agent for Quayle who negotiated the deal with the state of
Indiana to produce the 1913 porcelains with the stipulation that he receive 10% of
any profits gained via that contract.  However, after the deal was struck, Herff did
not receive his cut, which amounted to more than $1,100.  This lawsuit and
Quayle's inability to get the plates out on time turned out to be interesting
portents of things to come for the troubled Quayle Enamel Company.

with the Indiana porcelains, the company doesn't seem to have been able to keep
up with production demands.

As a result, New Jersey Motor Vehicle
Commissioner Lippincott cancelled the order
with Quayle and placed an emergency order
for 2,000 pairs with the Brilliant
Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia.  
Because Quayle was insured, the state of
New Jersey did not lose out financially, and
the remainder of the plates for 1914 were
soon on hand for New Jersey motorists.  
However, this debacle severely impacted the
company's reputation.  Just three months
later, Quayle was in negotiations to gain the
contract to produce the 1915 Ohio flat metal
issues.  Although an article in Ohio's "Lima
Daily News" in May of 1914 stated, "if their
samples are found to be up to standard, the
Quayle Enamel Co., of Albany, N.Y., will in all
probability get the contract as this company
submitted the lowest bid," the reality is that
the Ohio 1915 plates were manufactured by
the Scioto Sign Company of X, whose enamel
was thought to be superior.  Quayle's
battered reputation appears to have
preceded itself.

Later that same year, Quayle tried again, this
time hoping to win the contract to supply the
state of Pennsylvania with plates for 1915.  
Quayle once again submitted the lowest bid, but was not chosen to do the work.  
Ironically, considering the New Jersey debacle, the contract went to Brilliant.  
Some editorialized that this snub was the result of political game playing, because
Pennsylvania's governor had a close personal friend with ties to Brilliant.  
However, the reality is that Pennsylvania simply didn't want to take a risk on a
company that had just defaulted on New Jersey's contract a mere seven months
earlier.  In fact, in the Williamsport "Gazette and Bulletin," it was announced that
"the award was made to the Brilliant company after a letter had been received
that the Quayle company of Albany, the lowest bidder, had failed to execute its
contract with New Jersey to the satisfaction of officials of that state."  In its
negotiations with the state, it is not unreasonable to presume that Brilliant found
a way of pointing out that it was them who had just stepped in and helped bail
Quayle out of an unpleasant situation.  It did not help the situation that Quayle
was simultaneously in the newspaper as the defendant in an unnamed suit
brought by the government in United States Court.

In spite of its efforts to win contracts, the 1913 Connecticut and Indiana issues
and 1914 New Jersey plates are the only porcelains known to have been
manufactured by The Quayle Enamel Company.  Quayle did not fold as a company,
though, and produced such products as Albany Defence Corps police badges for
the New York State Department of Public Safety during World War I.  However,
their days of license plate manufacturing were over, largely due to the company's
own legal and business entanglements.


Bedford Gazette (Bedford PA), September 11, 1914
The Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, PA), September 2, 1914
The Hartford Courant, July 10, 1912; January 1, 1913; January 10, 1913
Indianapolis Star, May 2, 1913; August 24, 1913
Lima Daily News, May 28, 1914
New York Times, March 23, 1907; May 11, 1909; December 1, 1909
Post Standard (Syracuse, NY), March 20, 1904
The Republican News (Hamilton, OH), June 20, 1914
Syracuse Herald, March 29, 1909; October 2, 1914
Trenton Evening Times, June 17, 1913; February 4, 1914
Headline announcing the cancellation of
Quayle's contract after the company failed
to meet the requirements of its contract to
produce 1914 New Jersey porcelains

Trenton Evening Times,
February 4, 1914

The only three porcelain
license plates known to
have been produced by
Headline about the breach of contract suit brought
against the Quayle Enamel Company by one of its
agents regarding profits generated by the
production of the 1913 Indiana porcelains

The Indianapolis Star,
August 24, 1913

Article announcing Quayle as the low
bidder hoping to win the contract to
make the New Jersey 1914 porcelains

Trenton Evening Times
June 17, 1913
Quayle had hoped to be in production on New
Jersey's 1913 plates at the same time, but
although the "Trenton Evening Times" indicated
that Quayle's bid of $12,665 was the lowest bid,
the contract ultimately went to the Greenduck
Company of Illinois.  Undeterred, Quayle was
back the next year and this time successfully
secured the contract to produce New Jersey's
1914 plates.  With a $15,000+ contract in hand,
Quayle could have made a real impression and
perhaps position itself to gain future license
plate contracts.  However, the seemingly
hapless company once again found itself in
trouble when it realized they couldn't handle the
production of 50,000 pairs of plates, as required
by the New Jersey State Department of Motor
Vehicles.  Quayle had initially promised that
45,000 of the pairs would be delivered by
January 2, 1914 and that the remainder of the
contract would be fulfilled by February 1.  By
January 4, however, Quayle had only managed
to produce and deliver 30,000 pairs, well below
the terms stipulated in their contract.  Just as
Headline announcing that
Quayle was selected to
make the Indiana 1913

The Indianapolis Star,
May 2, 1913
The Hartford Courant,
January 1, 1913
Due to Quayle's inability to get the
Connecticut 1913 plates to officials by
the first of the year, two separate
extensions had to be granted to