The very first coin-operated musical devices were player pianos and music boxes. They used metal cylinders, paper rolls, or metal disks to play music on the instrument inside the machine.
In the 1890s technology advanced so that the machines played music recordings instead of instruments; the listener heard the music through a listening tube.
It wasn’t until the late 1920s that a jukebox similar to what we have now was introduced: early machines could play only one record, but later designs had up to 10 different records from which a listener could choose. As time went on, electrical recordings and amplification greatly improved and demand for these machines intensified.
In the early 1940s, the term “jukebox” came into use,
based on the term “juke joint,” which referred to “rowdy, disorderly, or wicked.” The jukeboxes of this age kept count of the songs played so owners could determine which records were played the most; this allowed owners which records to replace for the best use of the machine.
Early machines were wall-mounted, and allowed patrons to select their songs from their restaurant booth or table without having to get up and go to the jukebox itself. These early players used a wax cylinder. In 1950 vinyl records became popular for use in jukeboxes and were the most popular format for 50 years.
Amid the vinyl seats and fine aromas of every 1950s neighborhood malt shop were boys and girls taking control of their musical destinies for the first time, freed from the chains of radio advertising and the chatter of DJs. Recapture that rush of excitement and take yourself back to an age of innocence, when cool summer breezes and request after rockin request filled the air of the main drag, creating a new set of fond memories along the way.
Now, you can get machines that play MP3s, CDs, and even Internet-integrated music players.