4 Awesome Vintage Juke Boxes
We’re thrilled to show off four collectible jukeboxes from the ’40s and ’50s. Part of our own collection, some of these beauties were restored by Steve Hanson and Zuddie Smith, two of the best and most knowledgeable jukebox restorers in the US.
Sorry, these items are not for sale! Instead, we share them as part of the Retro Museum. If you are in possession of a classic gem, feel free to post a pic in the comments below. We love seeing these great music players from yesteryear.
First up is the Seeburg M100B. This machine uses a Select-O-Matic mechanism, and is capable of playing up to 100 selections from 50 records (both sides). It was the very first jukebox to play only 45-RPM records. It has a visible record mechanism and an illuminated interior, song selections panel and grill. It ushered in the greatest time period for jukeboxes (the ’50s).
The M100B was produced by J. P. Seeburg Company. It measures 54-inches high by 34-inches wide, and 28-inches deep. It weighs 310 pounds.
Produced in 1952, the Seeburg 100C is a much sought-after jukebox. With its great styling, the cabinet design was very different from the earlier 100A and 100B.
Sporting a tiger oak veneer, the cabinet features two plastic pilasters in the front that are equipped with animation wheels. The wheels slowly rotate, reflecting colors onto 12 silvered glass tubes mounted in front of the speaker grill. Interior mirrors at the top reflect the playing mechanism.
The 100C holds fifty 45-RPM records, allowing for 100 selections. Also produced by J. P. Seeburg Company, this unit measures 54-inches high by 35″ wide by 26″ deep. It weights 305 pounds.
Did you know… The term jukebox was first used in the US in the 1940s, but the first nickel-in-the-slot phonograph was invented in 1890 by Louis Glass and William S. Arnold. In 1928, Justus P. Seeburg combined an electrostatic loudspeaker with a record player that was completely coin operated. At the time, patrons had a choice of eight records.
The Seeburg 100R (1954) also holds 50 45-RPM records (100 selections). One of the most sought after jukes of the 1950s, this unit boasts five speakers, high-fidelity sound, a highly visible mechanism, glass panes, and chrome lightning bolts in the speaker grill. The glass lid lifts, allowing for easy access to the records, selection title inserts, and for maintenance.
The Seeburg 100R stands 59-inches high. It’s 35-1/2-inches wide and 27-inches deep. It weighs 325 pounds.
Did you know… The use of jukeboxes were most popular from the ’40s to the ’60s. By the middle of the 1940s, nearly 3 out of 4 records produced in the US landed in jukeboxes.
As the need for more music grew, these classic designs were sacrificed. Manufacturers had to make more room for additional records, and thus cut down on the ornateness of the players.
Then there is the most classic of all jukeboxes: the Wurlitzer 1015. At the end of WWII, Wurlitzer pulled out all stops and told their chief designer, Paul Fuller, to give it his best shot. The result was the most successful coin-operated player of all time.
With its gothic shape and illuminated pilasters with moving colors, this juke has become what people picture when you mention a “jukebox”.
Made in 1946 and 1947, this unit was so much more popular than all the other Wurlitzer editions that the company re-released the unit in 1986 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of model 1015.
Produced by The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., the 1015 stands 60-inches high. It’s 32-inches wide and 24-1/14-inches deep. The weight? A hefty 355 pounds.
Do you remember dropping coins in a slot and pushing the button of your then-favorite hit? There’s something about having a limited selection compared to today’s systems, some of which can be operated via an app on a smartphone.