An American Social History


In stock

About the Book

This work traces the history of the jukebox from its origins in the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Alva Edison in the 1880s up to its relative modern obscurity. The jukebox’s first twenty years were essentially experimental because of the low technical quality and other limitations. It then practically disappeared for a quarter-century, beaten out by the player piano as the coin-operated music machine of choice. But then, new and improved, it reemerged and quickly spread in popularity across America, largely as a result of the repeal of Prohibition and the increased number of bars around the nation. Other socially important elements of the jukebox’s development are also covered: it played patriotic tunes during wartime and, located in youth centers, entertained young people and kept them out of “trouble.” The industry’s one last fling due to a healthy export trade is also covered, and the book rounds out with the decline in the 1950s and the fadeout into obscurity. Richly illustrated.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, ticket-scalping, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking and shoplifting. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 381
Bibliographic Info: 72 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1181-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6260-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. The Jukebox Arrives: A Dictaphone Gone Bad, 1870–1907 3
2. The Piano Outplays the Box, 1907–1933 20
3. Jukeboxes Spread Across America, 1934–1940 48
4. Boxes Gets Patriotic, and Curb Juvenile Delinquency, 1941–1945 128
5. The Nickel and Dime War, 1946–1950 166
6. Jukes Have One Final Fling, 1951–1959 225
7. Slow Fade to Obscurity, 1960–2000 274
8. Conclusion 302
Appendix A. City Jukebox Taxes and Ratios of Jukes and Locations to Population 307
Appendix B. Jukebox Exports 327
Appendix C. Jukebox License/Fee/Tax by State 335
Appendix D. U.S. Exports of Coin-Operated Machines 337
Notes 339
Bibliography 355
Index 369

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The first detailed investigation of jukeboxes…a fact-filled, very focused study”—Library Journal
  • “A wealth of information…fascinating”—History: Reviews of New Books
  • “Interesting…detailed…a fantastic job…fascinating…engrossing jukebox industry history”—Game Room
  • “Three appendices and detailed notes are helpful, as are the numerous illustrations…interesting…fascinating topic”—Choice
  • “Interesting…fascinating!”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly