Home Today Is The Jukebox Evolved From The 1889 Nickel-In-The-Slot Machine

The Jukebox Evolved From The 1889 Nickel-In-The-Slot Machine


On the day before gathering around the turkey, gather around the nearest jukebox to celebrate National Jukebox Day!

The name jukebox is thought to originate from places called ‘juke houses’ or ‘jook joints’, which were establishments in the early 1900s where people congregated to drink and listen to music.

Throughout each era – from big band and jazz, country and blues to rock & roll, acoustic and electric and everything in between— the jukebox has played it all.

  • 1889: The first coin-operated player was invented in San Francisco by Louis Glass and his partner William S. Arnold, both managers of the Pacific Phonograph Co. Formally known as the nickel-in-the-slot machine, the player included a coin operation feature on an Edison phonograph and played a limited selection of songs without any amplification.
  • The machine had no amplification and interested people had to listen to the music using one of the four listening tubes
  • 1905: The “Automatic Entertainer” was introduced by John Gabel and included 24 song selections.
  • Hobart C Niblack patented an apparatus in 1918,  which automatically changed records, leading to one of the first selective jukeboxes being introduced in 1927 by the Automated Musical Instrument Company, later known as AM
  • The 1930s were considered the start of “The Golden Era” for jukeboxes as manufacturers including Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., The J. P. Seeburg Corp., The Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corp. and Automatic Musical Instrument Co., competed to produce them for diners, saloons and other entertainment locations.
  • 1946 ushered in “The Silver Age” for jukeboxes as market demand for the newest and greatest technology soared. Fashionable and sleek, jukeboxes weren’t just music players, they were centerpieces often flamboyant with color and chrome. Neon and sci-fi became a tremendous influence on style as well.
  • The 1948 Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 was the first jukebox to offer 100 records. The varied mix of genres meant punters could listen to R&B, rock and roll, country and folk in the same venue.
  • During the 1950s sales declined, partially after the invention of the transistor radio, the first affordable way for people to listen to the radio at home. The popularity of the Sony Walkman in the 1980s furthered the decline.
  • The 1960s was the start of a new modern age for jukeboxes. Designs of coin-operated models went through radical changes, not only because of the availability of new materials, such as plastic but also because of the need to accommodate customer demand for more song selection.
  • In 1989, compact-disc mechanisms replaced the older record style players as newer technology became affordable and rapidly implemented among the general population. Jukeboxes started to become more of a novelty than a necessity.
  • In 1998, TouchTunes introduced the next major innovation for the industry with the launch of the first digital networked music jukebox. For the first time, customers could search and browse from a library with 750 digital songs.
  • In 2010, TouchTunes released the first-ever social jukebox mobile app on iOS and Android. The app allows users to find nearby jukebox locations, create playlists, and queue up songs on the jukebox directly from their phone.
  • In 2011, TouchTunes once again revolutionized in-venue entertainment with the launch of Virtuo, a multi-application platform designed to appeal a tech-savvy audience. Users could choose from hundreds of thousands of songs available.
  • In 2014, TouchTunes introduced the next wave of innovation with Playdium,  a smarter jukebox that dynamically updates the user experience to showcase the music most relevant to each location.
  • In 2016, TouchTunes revamped the mobile app experience to allow music fans to be the DJ like never before. The advanced app offers an intuitive music-first design and improved usability to better control the jukebox.


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