A jukebox is a partially automated music-playing device, usually a coin-operated machine, that will play a patron’s selection from self-contained media.
The classic jukebox has buttons with letters and numbers on them that, when entered in combination, are used to play a specific selection.
Coin-operated music boxes and player pianos were the first forms of automated coin-operated musical devices. These instruments used paper rolls, metal disks, or metal cylinders to play a musical selection on the instrument, or instruments, enclosed within the device.
In 1890, Louis Glass and William S. Arnold invented the nickel-in-the-slot phonograph, the first of which was an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph retrofitted with a device patented under the name of Coin Actuated Attachment for Phonograph. The music was heard via one of four listening tube
In 1928, Justus P. Seeburg, who was manufacturing player pianos, combined an electrostatic loudspeaker with a record player that was coin operated, and gave the listener a choice of eight records
The term “jukebox” came into use in the United States around 1940, apparently derived from the familiar usage “juke joint”, derived from the Gullah word “juke” or “joog” meaning disorderly, rowdy, or wicked
Song-popularity counters told the owner of the machine the number of times each record was played (A and B side were generally not distinguished), with the result that popular records remained, while lesser-played songs could be replaced.
“It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. With Americans, it is a national trait, as native to us as the rollercoaster or the jukebox. It is no simple longing for the home town or country of our birth. The emotion is Janus-faced: we are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” –Carson McCullers
Jukeboxes were most popular from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, particularly during the 1950s. By the middle of the 1940s, three-quarters of the records produced in America went into jukeboxes.While often associated with early rock and roll music, their popularity extends back much further, including classical music, opera and the swing music era.
1946 Wurlitzer Model 1015 – referred to as the “1015 bubbler” offered 24 selections. More than 56,000 were sold in less than 2 years and it is considered a pop culture icon. Designed by Wurlitzer’s Paul Fuller.
Well, honey, if Hell had a jukebox, And the Devil kept it full of hurtin’ songs, You could find me there this evening, With the broken hearted grieving Prayin’ like hell you would come back home
1953 Seeburg M100C – This was the jukebox exterior used in the credit sequences for the sitcom Happy Days. It played up to fifty 45 rpm records making it a 100-play. It was a very colorful jukebox with chrome glass tubes on the front, mirrors in the display, and rotating animation in the pilasters.
Heaven knows I love old melodies
They were meant to ease the pain
But the kind that’s playing on my mind
Are driving me insane
1967 Rock-Ola 434 Concerto – This was the jukebox interior used in the intro sequence for the sitcom Happy Days. Like the Seeburg M100C, it played up to fifty 45 rpm records, but featured a horizontal playback mechanism unlike the M100C.
The Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation was founded in 1927 by Coin-Op pioneer David Cullen Rockola to manufacture slot machines, scales and pinball machines. The firm later produced parking meters, furniture, and firearms, but became best known for its jukeboxes.