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This Day in Norwood History-January 25, 1947-Norwood Man Has Unusual Collection Of License Plates

Fred Schaicr of 53 Silver Street, shown with some of his prized collection of number plates. He has set of plates 354 and 355 for 36 consecutive years. (McLean Photo)

A Norwood man. Fred Schaicr. of 53 Silver street, a retired chauffeur, lays claims to having the most complete set of automobile license plates in the country. In fact, he has two sets of plates numbered 354 and 355 that arc compíete for a period of 36 years as well as his plates from every state in “the union and some from foreign countries. Schaicr started collecting the plates many years ago as a hobby and he has lined the walls of his spacious den in a corner o[ his cellar with them and has dozens more piled away.

Schaicr was the chauffeur for the late George H Morrill, Norwood ink manufacturer who died 13 years ago, and upon his death stayed on as chauffeur for Mrs. Morrill. Upon Mrs. Morrill’s death three years ago, he retired. The plates numbered 354 and 355 were on cars driven by Schaier and owned by the Morrill family. Plates of every description are included in his collection One of his prized plates is one of solid copper put out by the state of Arizona for the year 1932 and he has plates of every color in the rainbow and made of wood, zinc, cardboard, and enamel.

He has been a chauffeur all his life and tells of being the first member of a club organized in Norwood many years ago when there were but 16 cars registered from Norwood. He has had a license to drive since 1909 and was the chauffeur of the first six-cylinder car brought to this country from Europe by the late Mr. Morrill. The car cost S12,000 to purchase in England and Mr. Morrill had to pay a duty of S2,400 more on it before it could be unloaded from the boat.

There were no license plates being issued by the state of Massachusetts at the time the car was purchased and the owner had to make his own by writing in the numerals allotted him on a piece of cardboard. That first cardboard plate is also included in Schaier’s collection Since the death of Mrs. Morrill three years ago, Schaier has been unaware of the present owner of the numbers 354 and 355 as the ownership is not transferable. He plans to contact the registry and locate the present owner of those numbers and see if he can obtain their old plates to add to those for the past 36 years already in his collection. Prior to the year 1908 there were no plates issued by the state, Schaier revealed, and owners had to make their own. He believes that he has about 300 plates in his collection and is always seeking others and sometimes writes to the secretary of a Chamber of Commerce in some distant state to secure some wanted old plate. He revealed that he has had several letters from collectors of hub caps who want him to send them some hub caps and they will in turn send him license plates. It is a fascinating hobby and his collection to him is considered priceless.

By “SCOOP” McLEAN

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