On the day before gathering around the turkey, gather around the nearest jukebox to celebrate National Jukebox Day!
As Americans flock to their hometowns for Thanksgiving, many will head out to neighborhood bars and restaurants to catch up with friends and family and celebrate by playing great songs on their local jukebox.
The name jukebox is thought to originate from places called ‘juke houses’ or ‘jook joints’, which were establishments in the early 1900s where people congregated to drink and listen to music. In 1889, the first coin-operated player was invented in San Francisco by Louis Glass and his partner William S. Arnold, both managers of the Pacific Phonograph Co. Formally known as the nickel-in-the-slot machine, the player included a coin operation feature on an Edison phonograph and played a limited selection of songs without any amplification.
Throughout history, the jukebox continued to evolve with the times. When recording artists were first crooning into microphones and cutting records into vinyl, an aspiring inventor in a Chicago music store worked nights to build a box that would play both sides of the record. When the Blue Grass Boys played the Grand Ole Opry to sold-out audiences, guys and gals would dance the night away by playing their song over and over again on the jukebox at a local pub. With the advancement of technology, today’s jukebox is now more versatile than ever before with touchscreen interfaces that respond to the swipe of a finger (or can even be controlled by a mobile app) and a vast virtual library of songs including back catalog jukebox heroes alongside top artists of today.
Throughout each era – from big band and jazz, country and blues to rock & roll, acoustic and electric and everything in between— the jukebox has played it all.
HISTORY OF THE JUKEBOX
1889: The first coin-operated player was invented in San Francisco by Louis Glass and his partner William S. Arnold.
1905: The “Automatic Entertainer” was introduced by John Gabel and included 24 song selections.
The 1930s were considered the start of “The Golden Era” for jukeboxes as manufacturers including Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., The J. P. Seeburg Corp., The Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corp. and Automatic Musical Instrument Co., competed to produce them for diners, saloons and other entertainment locations.
1946 ushered in “The Silver Age” for jukeboxes as market demand for the newest and greatest technology soared. Fashionable and sleek, jukeboxes weren’t just music players, they were centerpieces often flamboyant with color and chrome. Neon and sci-fi became a tremendous influence on style as well.
The 1960s was the start of a new modern age for jukeboxes. Designs of coin-operated models went through radical changes, not only because of the availability of new materials, such as plastic but also because of the need to accommodate customer demand for more song selection.
In 1989, compact-disc mechanisms replaced the older record style players as newer technology became affordable and rapidly implemented among the general population. Jukeboxes started to become more of a novelty than a necessity.
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