Jukeboxes fall into five main categories, referred to in the world of collectors and dealers as 'ages'.

Below is a description of these "ages" and the machines produced during them.
 

          
  The Radio Age   

1928 to 1938

  • Flat top wooden radio-like cabinets.
  • Very little illumination.

 

 
  The Golden Age  

1938 to 1949

  • Extensive use of illumination and animation.
  • Classic arched shaped cabinets.
  • All models playing 78 rpm records.

 

 
  The Silver Age  

1954 to 1962

  • All models now playing 7 inch, 45rpm discs
  • Auto - styling introduced chrome, curved glass and illumination.
  • Hi-fidelity, and later stereophonic, sound

 

 
  Oddballs &
Interim models
 
  • Machines not made by the big four manufacturers
  • Interim models where the big boys hadn't quite got it right

 

 
  The Repro Age  
  • Machines based on original Golden Age designs
  • Replica cabinets with modern state-of-the-art mechanisms.
  • Some early models are now becoming collectable

 

 
 
 
 
The Radio Age
This category is used to describe the machines manufactured prior to 1938.

Flat topped wooden cabinets looking decidedly like overgrown console radio sets were used by all the major manufacturers to offer machines playing 78rpm records with a variety of selections from 8 to 16.

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The Golden Age
Perhaps the most prolific of all the categories, this age spanning 1938 to 1949 and incorporating the war years saw more landmarks in the development of the jukebox than at any other time, and it is this age that the majority of the rare and highly collectable models are from.

1938 saw the introduction of transluscent acrylic plastic coupled with coloured illumination, traditional wood veneered cabinets and the liberal use of nickel plating on the ornamental castings - giving birth to some of the most outstanding pieces of design technology ever. It is from this era that the 'Domed' or 'Arched' shaped cabinets come, including the most famous machine of all time (although not the most collectable) - the Wurlitzer model 1015 or 'Ten Fifteen' as it is normally referred to throughout the world.

All jukeboxes from the "Golden Age" operated on 78rpm and now offered as many as 24 selections, 'A' sides only, with the singular exception of the AMI range of machines which gave 40 selections from both sides of 20 records.

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The Silver Age
This era covers machines manufactured between 1954 and 1962 and is so called because of the change to chrome and glass, in particular very curved glass and 'auto styling'. Machines started to be referred to as 'windscreen' models and words like 'bumper' crept in to the descriptive literature. The "Silver Age" also saw the introduction of jukeboxes designed specifically to play the new 7", 45rpm records, the first machines to offer 200 selections and, by 1959, stereophonic sound.

By far the largest percentage of jukeboxes purchased for private home use are from the "Silver Age" category. There are several reasons which bring about this situation:

Firstly, the "Silver Age" jukebox is very functional - it plays 45s on both sides and offers up to 200 selections on certain models. Most owners can expect to get a fair amount of everyday use from their jukebox.

Secondly, the sound systems on most of these models are quite superb, or can be modified (sympathetically) to give very good quality reproduction.

Thirdly, these models tend to be those that most people can actually remember from the days when the machine would have been in public operation.

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Oddball & Interim machines
These don't really have a proper place in any of the other categories.

Machines described as "Oddball" may come from any of the eras previously mentioned, while the "Interim" models are usually from the period 1949 and 1954, which you may have noticed is not covered by "Golden" or "Silver" age classiffcations. Many of the manufacturers were in a state of quandary during this time, battling to redesign out-moded mechanisms to either play both sides of a 78 or take the new 7 inch 45 on equipment originally made to play a 10inch disc. This period saw some of the most unreliable machines in the history of the jukebox, although it is true to say that a few gems did emerge, even against these odds.

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The Repro Age
Basically this section refers to the period from about 1987 to the present day, and covers the growing number of replica and reproduction jukeboxes.

It is now possible to buy a hand-built, 1940's style, jukebox which is practically indistinguishable from its original counterpart - playing compact discs from your armchair via an infra red remote handset. Memories of yesterday through the technology of tomorrow. Interestingly enough, some of the early examples of repro machines are themselves becoming sought after. Certain models were actually manufactured in very small quantity.

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     Email:     jukejoint59@aol.com
       
  Tel or Fax:   0114 255 7979
       
  Address:

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Hours of opening:
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