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A Look At Jukebox History

By Melvin Sentrovski

When you walk into one of those retro 50′s diners, or a rocking country and western restaurant-bar, you always expect there will be a jukebox. Now days you can find them proudly displayed in restaurant, clubs, even private homes. The jukebox has definitely changed over the years, especially the Crosley jukebox, from what its original concept started out to be.

Many establishments have earned an income with jukeboxes and player pianos from people who are willing to pay to hear their favorite tunes. They were extremely popular in fairgrounds and dance halls. This led the way and made the jukebox a fixture in Americana.

Before the jukeboxes became popular, there were coin operated phonographs. These were used in many places and were well received by the public. But people were limited to listening to only one record at a time which would last for 2 minutes.

Jukeboxes were being developed in the 1930′s and Crosley took the basic idea from seeing them. Powel Crosley wanted to give his son a receiver radio for his birthday but the price tags were daunting. He decided to build his own and managed to complete the project for about $35. The Crosley company continued to manufacture many other items for the mass market including record boxes, telephones and other well known items.

The origin of the word jukebox stems from “jook”, which is an African term for dancing, and the full word “jukebox” arrived in America at the turn of the century. The Automatic Music Instrument Company constructed the first true jukebox in 1927. With these devices, clubs could inexpensively provide quality music to their customers, which would bring in business without having to pay for an expensive band to come in and play. Another innovative concept was the ability to choose what song you wanted to play.

Once the Great Depression ended, jukeboxes were bought by the truckload, as it became more affordable for people to own. The Crosley jukebox was no stranger to this popularity, making it a popular collector’s item today.

The jukeboxes today are built to play CDs instead of records, so the older jukeboxes have become pieces of art to collectors. When people see the older jukeboxes they start to reminisce about fast cars, rock and roll music, and the drive-hamburgers places of their younger days. To have one of these pieces of the past, that is still functional, probably explains why so many people want to collect them.

In addition to the Jukebox, Melvin has written on shoes as well, read his other articles at men’s Italian shoes or Crosley jukebox CD.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Sentrovski, Melvin "A Look At Jukebox History." A Look At Jukebox History. 4 Jul. 2010. 7 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Sentrovski, M (2010, July 4). A Look At Jukebox History. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Sentrovski, Melvin "A Look At Jukebox History"

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