Which Is A Very Important Element Of Early Twentieth-Century Music A Short History of the Jukebox

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A Short History of the Jukebox

It is not certain where the term ‘jukebox’ comes from, but it has been suggested that it comes from the American South where bars playing jazz and blues were called ‘juke joints’. The name ‘Jukebox’ was not adopted commercially until 1937, before that they were called phonographs.

Although Thomas Edison developed a coin-operated phonograph in the late 1800s, the automatic record player wasn’t introduced until 1906 and it wasn’t until the 1920s, when electronically recorded records became available, that we saw the type of record we recognized. The newly developed changer system was able to select the records, play them on the turntable and then return them to where they were kept.

The early boxes were found in speakeasies during the prohibition era, these were heavy veneered cabinets with fabric covered speakers. In the late 1930s they became quite flamboyant, with bright colored domed lighted cabinets and plastic was used for the first time. The models of this period existed until about 1948 and are considered part of the golden age of the jukebox.

How did they become so popular?

Part of the popularity of jukeboxes can be attributed to World War II and the fact that the US armed forces took their American music with them everywhere they went and left a trail of jukeboxes wherever they were stationed. With the advent of the rock ‘n’ roll craze in the 1950s, the demand for jukeboxes It went through the roof and companies like Wurlitzer & Seeberg exported their machines all over the world.

As technology advanced, the jukeboxes managed to store up to 100 discs and the cabinet designs became more and more elaborate, greatly influenced by the American car of the 1950s and its chassis. The look was sleek, streamlined with flashy chrome fins, dashboard-style consoles, flashy fenders and glass windshields. The age of the jukebox has arrived.

The main manufacturers of music boxes

There were five main manufacturers of jukeboxes throughout the 20th century:

am I Began production in 1909 as the National Automatic Music Co. They designed a mechanism that could select music rolls and this was first used in automatic player pianos and later adapted to select records in jukeboxes, the first of which was produced in 1927. This mechanism was the first that could play both sides of ten records – it was used for the next thirty years. The company was renamed Automatic Musical Instrument Company (AMI) after World War II. During the 1950s license manufacturing agreements created BAL-AMI, which was the largest British manufacturer of jukeboxes in the 1950s and 1960s. The 1957 Model H Jukebox was heavily influenced by popular car styles of the time, with chrome fenders and tail fins.

Cyborg Was one of the first manufacturers to have a multi-selection jukebox. In 1949 it developed a mechanism that could play both sides of fifty records and it was so reliable that few other manufacturers could compete. Seeburg introduced the M100B in 1950 – it was the first jukebox that could play 45rpm records, followed by the V200, the first jukebox with 200rpm. They continued to make jukeboxes throughout the 1970s and 1980s until they were acquired by Seeburg Satellite Broadcasting.

Wurlitzer It is the name that everyone will hear about and it is the name that we think of when someone mentions a jukebox. Initially known for their large theater organs, they later went on to produce highly illuminated music boxes that played 78 rpm records and dominated the market throughout the 1940s. Through their use of wood, veneer, chrome, plastic, colored lighting and animation, the box was As entertaining as the music he played. With the onset of the 45 rpm record in the early fifties Wurlitzer lost a great deal of market share and as demand waned so did the Wurlitzer name out of business in the seventies.

Rock-ola Founded in 1927 by David C Rockola, they manufactured coin operated scales and pinball games. In 1939 they introduced the successful Luxury Lightup series of jukeboxes, followed by the Magic Glow series in the late 1940s. The company was sold to businessman Glenn Streeter in the early 1990s and he revived the brand and once again made Rock-Ola one of the leading jukebox manufacturers in the US.

NSM Founded in Germany in 1952 and quickly conquered the European jukebox industry. He made it into the nineties with the CD player and the miniature jukeboxes hanging on the wall.

Why did jukeboxes go out of fashion?

The jukebox’s popularity began to decline in the 1960s as diners were replaced by fast food chains and jukeboxes were replaced by television sets. Also, teenagers began listening to long-playing records and transistor radios at home.

However, with the current interest in all things vintage and the timeless appeal of rock ‘n’ roll, there has been a resurgence of interest in jukeboxes and they have become collectible. You can fit them to play your own music, you should contact a major music dealer to arrange this. If you are buying a vintage jukebox that needs restoration, you should get a certified restorer to do it for you.

If you are interested in collecting music boxes, they are not cheap. While on the lower end you might get one for around 1,000 a classic Wurlitzer can cost anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000.

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