The Silver Age of jukeboxes covers about a 10-year period from the early 1950’s to 1962. By '54 Jukebox designers were being influenced by American automobiles, with plenty of chrome and curved glass.
Until 1956, the J.P. Seeburg and Company was family-owned. The company was founded by Justus P. Sjöberg of Gothenburg, Sweden. He moved to the United States after graduating from Chalmers University of Technology and used an Americanized spelling of his surname for the company. When Seeburg began to make jukeboxes, the 78 rpm record was standard and up to 24 selections could be played on one machine.
The Seeburg "Select-O-Matic" jukeboxes beginning in 1949 played both sides of 50 records for a total of 100 selections - an immense variety at the time! Also in 1950, Seeburg introduced the first commercial jukebox designed to play the then-new 45 rpm records. The brilliant "Select-O-Matic" record mechanism stores the records in a linear rack and plays them vertically clamped between two rotating cylinders. The selected record is pushed forward from behind, then clamped in the rotating cylinders. The tone arm is also oriented vertically and has a stylus on each side. The stylus is selected depending on which side of the record is being played.
Our Seeburg model HF100R was found in the basement storage of the Ace Music Company in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. It had been a well preserved workhorse, playing in bars, diners and a bowling alley. A testament to its sturdy design, it needed only a minor tune up to be back in playing condition. With five speakers it shakes, rattles and rolls!
The Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox was introduced in 1946, after WWII ended and building materials became available once again. The 1015 brought great success to the Wurlitzer Company and pushed them forward as the leader in jukebox manufacturing, with 56,000 units being sold in less than 2 years. This was the Golden Age of jukeboxes and the 1015 wasn’t just a huge hit in the United States, but also appeared everywhere Americans went, following GIs across the globe.
The Wurlitzer 1015 is arguably the most popular jukebox of all time. It was designed by Paul Fuller, Wurlitzer's chief designer from 1935-1948. With its illuminated, color-changing pilasters, 8 bubble tubes, nickel plating and domed top, it reflected the positive attitude of our post-war nation. The 1015 plays one side of twenty four 78-RPM records and has push-buttons to select the records to be played.
The model 1015, produced from 1946 to 1947 was so popular that many were utilized well into the 1950’s. This longevity is responsible for the 1015’s association with the 1950’s sock-hop era. By 1954, 45-RPM records were becoming so popular that Wurlitzer introduced a conversion kit for their jukeboxes so they could play the new records.
The Piston Palace's 1015 jukebox stood for decades in the greasy basement of the Clam Shack restaurant on Cape Cod. The restoration required hours of cleaning, but we credit that environment with preserving this jukebox, everything is original, even the speaker, it looks and sounds just like 1946!