Dec 25, 2013

Jukeboxes and Collecting Make Beautiful Music Together

Previously published on

It commands attention: this icon of the 1950s is outfitted with sparkling chrome, flashy fins, gleaming bumpers, taillights and a dashboard-style console that’s surrounded by a glass windshield. A 1958 Chrysler Imperial? Nope. A 1958 Seeburg Silver Age jukebox.

The 1950s were the peak of America’s love affair with both automobiles and jukeboxes. Eisenhower pushed for an interstate highway system (“defense highways”) to be built, and drive-ins, motels and sleek aluminum-shelled diners began to pop up all over the landscape. Each business housed one or more jukebox, with designs heavily influenced by the autos coming out of Detroit. Like cars, the jukeboxes of the 1950s were sleek and streamlined.

Nothing says “fifties” quite like a jukebox. Back then, they were found everywhere people gathered: restaurants, bars, community centers, malt shops, military PX’s, even Laundromats. For a little pocket change, any gathering could be turned into a dance party. As long as patrons continued to pump the ‘box full of coins, it would play all night, commercial-free and with greater musical variety than could be heard on a radio. Young baby boomers would beg their parents for quarters for the jukebox in the same way that boomer’s children would beg for quarters for the video arcades in the 1980s and 1990s. Read More

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