jukebox n : a cabinet containing an automatic record player; records are played by inserting a coin [syn: nickelodeon]
- IPA: /ˈʤuk.bɑks/
an automated carousel
The first jukeboxes were simply wooden boxes with coin slots and a few buttons. Over time they became more and more decorated, using color lights, rotating lights, chrome, bubble tubes, ceiling lamps, and other visual gimmicks. Many consider the 1940s to be the "golden age" of jukebox styling with the gothic-like curvaceous "electric rainbow cathedral" look. World War II and the Great Depression were over, so the new designs and sales choices reflected the festive mood. The first model manufactured after WWII was the Model A, produced by Rowe International (then known as AMI), known as the "mother of Plastic" because of its opalescent plastics and colored gemstones. Even before that, decorative jukeboxes were often one of the few escapes from the problems of the Great Depression and war.
Styling progressed from the plain wooden boxes in the early thirties to beautiful light shows with marblized plastic and color animation in the Wurlitzer 850 Peacock of 1943. But after the United States entered the war, metal and plastic were needed for the war effort. Jukebox production was cut back. The 1943 Wurlitzer 950 featured wooden coin chutes to save on metal. It should also be noted that since the mechanisms were made of metal, they were not produced during this time, rather, a new cabinet was produced and the internal components of the jukebox were placed into it. Since many of the mechanisms were built by hand, a lot of these jukeboxes had parts that never fit properly and required modification. The 1943 Wurlitzer Victory cabinet featured glass lightup panels instead of plastic. After the war, material was available again and there was a big boom in jukeboxes.
The Wurlitzer model "1015-Bubbler" typifies the look and is arguably the most popular jukebox design of all time. Many of these survived into the 50s in active use and are instead associated with the 50s in pop culture despite their 40s origin because of their unique visual prominence and production volume. Designed by stylist Paul Fuller, it is rumored that when entertainment equipment factories were redirected toward the war effort, Paul had more time to focus on aesthetic design. This extra time resulted in one of the greatest designs in iconic pop culture.
After the '40s, the styles generally became more box-like and "high-tech" in look, distancing themselves from "classic" influences such as ancient Greek, renaissance, and gothic motifs found in the '40s models.
Also, the post-'40s models needed more panel space for the increased number of record titles they could present on selection buttons, reducing the space available for decoration. This is partly due to improved record storage and dispatching technology and partly due to the transition from the 78-rpm disks to the 45-rpm disks, which were more compact.
Jukeboxes from the 1940s are called Golden Age because of the yellow catalin plastic. Jukeboxes from the 1950s are called Silver Age because of the predominant chrome styling. With the rise of fast food restaurants in the 1960s, restaurants wanted to get customers in and out fast. The reason for this was to keep customers there and to pile money into the jukeboxes. This by far is the era that people remember. The most famous besides the 1050 Wurlitzer is the 1953 Seeburg M100C. Yet today there are even more Jukes that people desire (especially in the overseas market. Here are some of the most visually notable models:
- Rock-Ola model 1413 Premier (1942) - Resembles something from a science fiction movie. It has a distinctive blue-green glowing "eye globe" in the lower-middle of its gill-like grille.
- Rock-Ola model 1422 and 1426 (1946-47) - Beautiful use of rainbow-colored leafy-spiral grill-work resembling violin stems.
- 1953 Seeburg M100C - This machine played 50 45 rpm records making it a 100 play. Mirrors on the inside rotating animation in the pilasters. Chrome glass tubes in the front, very colorful.
- 1954 Rock-Ola 1438 Comet - This was the first 45 RPM Record machine that Rockola offered Exclusively as 45 rpm only. It played 80 45 rpm records (120 Selection) It seemed to copy a lot of features from the Seeburg M100C (Pillasters)Curved glass but still had a personal style that many people enjoyed.
- 1954 Seeburg HF100R - This machine played 50 45 rpm records. Featured glass panels and Icicle chrome on the grill. It had a bandshell appearance with anodized chrome. It was also the first Seeburg to feature large buttons that lit up, and 5 speakers to give the listener better sound "all around the Jukebox"
- 1962 Rock-Ola Princess - The name is applied to several different models that vary drastically in appearance. This model is popular today for nostalgic use in homes due to its compact size. The most desirable Princess model has a visible mechanism, something nearly universally desired by home jukebox owners.
- Wurlitzer Model 750 and 750E (1941) - In some ways a precursor to the famous 1015, but with a rounder look.
- Wurlitzer Model 800 (1941) - Very bold looking model that in some ways resembles a shuttle launch with its two side rockets. A flame-like glimmer was created by internal rotating tubes casting waving shadow patterns against the lights.
- Wurlitzer Model 850 (1941) - Some of the most artistic grille work. The highlight was a revolving polarizer peacock color animation.
- Wurlitzer Model 950 (1942) - In some ways a visual hybrid between models 800 and 1015. Black metal edging gives this a look reminiscent of ancient Greek design.
- Wurlitzer Models 1080 and 1080-A (1947-48) - Another model that seems to have heavy Greek influence. This model was not as colored-light intensive of other models of the era, but makes very stylish use of wood and classical curves.
- Wurlitzer Jukebox Model 1100 (1948-49) - Represents a transition style between the 40s and 50s jukebox styling when the record player area started opening up behind larger glass displays. Heavy use of chrome styling.
- AMI "Top Flight" Model (1936-38) - Very distinctive grille-work with a sleek, metallic Sci-Fi feel. (Produced by Rowe International, then known as AMI)
- AMI Model "A" Jukebox of (1946-47) - Unique "space helmet" look. In many ways the styling was ahead of its time. The model A was also the first jukebox to play both side of every record. It held 20 78-rpm discs and offered patron 40 selections. (Produced by Rowe International, then known as AMI)
- Seeburg Model "C" This Jukebox is known as the "Happy Days Machine" As it was used in the sit com Happy Days. It was 100 play and features rotating pilasters. (quite an advance at this time period) This remains one of the more popular machines, along with the Wurlitzer 1015.
- Seeburg Model HF-100R (1954) - Bandshell design and was the only Seeburg to have 5 speakers.
- AMI Model "G" Jukebox of (1954) - Has the look of a "Fish Tank" and has been named so. This was the first machine to use a folded horn concept speaker system (Produced by Rowe International, then known as AMI)
- AMI Model H, I, J and K All of these models had the 50's car windshield look. (eg: 1958 Plymouth front windshield [wrap around]) This was a new concept and currently people in Europe grab these machines as fast as they can. Last year for this style for AMI was 1960 and was the model K. The model I remains at this time time the MOST desiable mahine to own. (Produced by Rowe International, then known as AMI)
Note that "Rock-Ola" is actually based on the name of the company founder, David Cullen Rockola, and is not a portmanteau of Rock and Victrola as many believe. David Rockola is also Canadian and NOT American as many people believe. Rockola was founded many years before the term "Rock" was applied to music at all.
- Wurlitzer Jukebox Wurlitzer Jukebox
- Rock-Ola Jukebox Rock-Ola Jukebox
- Rock-Ola Jukebox UK Rock-Ola UK
- Jukebox-World Jukebox-Archive with forum, serial numbers, classified ads and parts
- BAL-AMi Jukeboxes Home of the British-made BAL-AMi Jukeboxes
- Seeburg, Ami, Rockola, and Wurlitzer information and photos on most models
- Jukebox France Jukebox France
jukebox in Czech: Jukebox
jukebox in Danish: Jukeboks
jukebox in German: Jukebox
jukebox in Modern Greek (1453-): Jukebox
jukebox in Spanish: Gramola
jukebox in French: Juke-box
jukebox in Italian: Juke box
jukebox in Dutch: Jukebox
jukebox in Japanese: ジュークボックス
jukebox in Norwegian: Jukeboks
jukebox in Portuguese: Jukebox
jukebox in Sicilian: Giubbòchisi
jukebox in Finnish: Jukebox
jukebox in Swedish: Jukebox
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