Jukebox Collectibles

Many collectors are rocking around the clock with their own jukeboxes while others are hosting parties featuring The Twist. While Thomas Edison developed the first coin-operated phonograph, it was not until Louis Glass and William Arnold made the first jukebox in 1890 that people started hearing their music play through coin-operated jukeboxes. If you are thinking about getting a jukebox, then you may have some questions.

What do collectors look for when buying old jukeboxes?

Buyers keep many different factors in mind when determining the value of a vintage jukebox including:

  • Age: Older jukeboxes are highly desired amongst collectors.
  • Quality: Jukeboxes that were considered top production models in their time are sought after by many collectors.
  • Manufacturer: Well-known models are produced by Wurlitzer, Rock-Ola, Seeburg, and AMI.
What are some of the major advances in jukeboxes?

As technology advanced, so did the jukeboxes. There have been several major types including:

  • Wax disc jukeboxes: Special cardboard tubes covered in wax allowed users to listen to 120 revolutions per minute (RPM) music by standing with their ears pressed against a metal tube. The wax on the circular tubes measuring wore out quickly and had to be replaced after it was heard about 20 times. This part was eventually replaced with hot pink celluloid cylinders, but soon manufacturers began making them in brown and black.
  • Ferris-wheel type jukeboxes: Manufacturers started producing jukeboxes that had up to 10 different record players in them that played 78 RPM records. Users could choose which machine they wanted to listen to after inserting a coin.
  • 45 RPM jukeboxes: In 1953, Seeburg introduced an Art Deco machine playing up to 100 45 RPM recordings. Other manufacturers soon followed this design.
  • Compact-disc jukeboxes: Wurlitzer created the first compact-disc jukebox in 1989, providing major upgrades to sound clarity.
  • Internet jukeboxes- In 1998, the first internet jukebox was introduced by Wurlitzer paving the way for business owners to start offering their customers a wider range of music.
Who were some major jukebox manufacturers during the 1950s?

While several smaller companies made jukeboxes, several companies revolutionized the industry including:

  • AMI: Also called BAL-AMI in Great Britain where they were the largest manufacturer of jukeboxes, this company revolutionized the industry by developing the mechanism that allowed listeners to choose to hear music from both the sides of 10 records. Most of their jukeboxes are named after popular automobiles and are fashioned with chrome, bumpers, and tailfins.
  • Seeburg: This company pushed the industry with new technology. Seeburg developed the first jukebox that played 45 RPM records, the first 100 song jukebox, and the first 200 song jukebox.
  • Wurlitzer: This company was an early industry leader making many Art Deco jukeboxes. While they stopped making traditional jukeboxes in the 1950s, the company still makes iPod chargers and has introduced new types jukeboxes.
  • Rock-Ola: This line of jukeboxes is known for making high-end vintage jukeboxes.