Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Remembering jukeboxes, part 2

Last time we talked about the first jukebox installed in a saloon in San Francisco back in 1889. Eventually, amplifiers were added to the machines so everyone in the place could listen in.

By 1940, there were at least 40,000 jukeboxes operating across the US. Within a few more years, that number climbed to more than 750,000 units across North America and companies like Wurlitzer, Seeburg, AMI, and Rock-Ola.

Let’s talk about Rock-Ola machines for a minute. That company was founded by Manitoba-born David Rockola—seriously, that was his name—in 1935. Rock-Ola still exists today and still makes jukeboxes. And although their popularity has decided, there are more than a quarter-million places across North America that still offer some kind of jukebox for their customers.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38466 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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