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Jukebox - history of Jukeboxes worldwide

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Forum » Radio- and technical History » Picture and tone processing / recording » Jukebox - history of Jukeboxes worldwide
           
Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
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24.Feb.09 21:57

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Our member Vincent de Franco has sent me the translation of my article in German about Jukeboxes (in German they are called Musikbox). I thank him very much for his gesture. But I have to say that I did not do much research on the Jukebox. The idea is that a good collector will follow here. If somebody can not post here he/she can send me the article and I will open the thread for that person. A guest can send even pictures with the contact form.

Jukebox - history of Jukeboxes worldwide

At the moment we have only a few music boxes registered in the Radiomuseum. For a long period of time, music boxes were equipped with tubes exclusively, therefore I believe that we should document these music devices systematically in our product catalog. Only a small number of companies (but more than 200), thereby a relatively small number of models have been produced - compared with radios. Soon after, the transistors came up - and particularly after the “Walkman” and the cheap following devices came - the genuine "Record-Jukeboxes" were no longer produced. We can include them all, without problem, in our database.

Radiomuseum has the advantage that it provides information on manufacturers, pictures, schematics, tubes as well as how to get them, spares, etc. on one location. We can also say that the models can be found easily through the various search engines and their related pages are popular. Who would write for himself in this case ?

We should also separate the real Jukeboxes from other devices. There are for instance combination devices like for instance radio-pick-up combination which carry the name of “Music-Box” or “Musik-Box”, like for instance the Kaiser Music-Box W1852/3D; they have nothing to do with a Jukebox. The name Jukebox is used for coin operated machines which were located in public areas and are today very popular collecting objects. The name “Jukebox” is also used by the IT world for several archiving systems based on CD, WORM or MiniDisc, etc. Since 1987 there are also CD-Jukeboxes and may be now MP3-Jukeboxes.

I have created under the selection "Player" a new category called "Jukebox" in order to be able to sort properly the real coin-operated machines. Please correct the entries where they are missing. Once this is done, it will be possible to find all the Jukeboxes with a few clicks.

A few people know that the first Wurlitzer Jukebox was designed in 1933. This first device, called "Debutante" could only select from 10 records but it was not an automatic changer. It had however both of the characteristics of a Jukebox: the record could be selected and you had to use a coin to play it (or release the play function). Jukeboxes are typical US-American products with names like "The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company", followed by J.P. Seeburg, Rock-Ola, Automatic Musical Instrument Corp. (AMI), Mills and Evans. But there were many more in existance and in many countries, even in Switzerland tehre was more than one brand produced. The first Jukebox was the "Automatic Entertainer", made by John Gabel Company in 1906. One could choose between 24 titles. Only from 1927 Jukeboxes had also an audio amplifier and loudspeaker.

The music boxes reached a peak in popularity in the forites in the USA and in the fifties in Europe. Wurlitzer has built its last model in 1973 the Jukebox 1050  which had a Nostalgic-Design but closed 1974 and went into other hands. The first Jukebox for CDs from (the new) Wurlitzer was produced in 1989.

Starting in the fifties, Germany had also its production of coin-operated music boxes with record players. This should not however be mixed with the mechanical music boxes produced around 1900 which used cylinders or disks and were called the music automates. Also at around the same period of time (from 1889) there were already coin-operated phonographs or gramophones using wax cylinders.

Real Jukeboxes as we mean it have been produced in Germany by different companies like Tonomat, Wiegandt and NSM-Löwen. The NSM I personally know from the CD changers. Starting with 1960, the former DDR has also manufactured music boxes like the Musikbox 80A of the Polyhymat-Gesellschaft Görner followed by the Polyhymat 80B of the VEB Funkwerk Erfurt.

We have a few collectors of jukeboxes here. They should contact me so that we could coordinate the action on Jukeboxes. This is only a starting point; as a first step I have created a couple of models from Wurlitzer and started the history of the main 3 manufacturers... which should be enhanced and completed. Who is interested in this field and would like to contribute models company history etc.?

This article was edited 27.Feb.09 13:42 by Ernst Erb .

Ernst Erb
Ernst Erb
Officer
CH  Articles: 5683
Schem.: 13755
Pict.: 31065
22.Jun.09 18:09

Count of Thanks: 29
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This here was only a first attempt for finding out if any member is interested. You find now a good article with interesting pictures here, written by Gert J. Almind.

If you came here by a Searching Engine, you should use the link - and perhaps click the few models mentioned in the post above.

  
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