20 February 2012

Jukebox Jive

Justus P. Sjöberg left Sweden for America, aged just 16, in 1887. In 1902 he formed J.P. Seeburg Co., an Anglicised form of his name, to make automated pianos. The company’s first jukebox, the eight-disc Audiophone, arrived in 1928. A decade later Seeburg, making use of translucent plastic panels, released the Symphonola, the first illuminated jukebox.

The Select-O-Matic, introduced in 1949, was revolutionary. It provided for the selection of 100 tracks from 50 records; and the 1950 Model B (this example owned and beautifully restored by Andi Blount) was the first jukebox to play 45rpm records (“singles”). One play for a nickel (5¢), two for a dime (10¢), and six for a quarter (25¢).

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