Troy Warren for CNT #Celebrations



The day before gathering around the turkey, gather around the nearest jukebox to celebrate National Jukebox Day! As Americans flock to their hometowns for Thanksgiving, many will head out to neighborhood bars and restaurants. They will catch up with friends and family and celebrate by playing great songs on their local jukebox.

The name jukebox is thought to originate from places called ‘juke houses’ or ‘jook joints.’ In the early 1900s, people congregated in these establishments to drink and listen to music. In 1889, Louis Glass and his partner William S. Arnold invented the first coin-operated player in San Francisco. They were 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. However, it played a limited selection of songs without any amplification.

Playing Music, Playing the Jukebox

Throughout history, the jukebox continued to evolve with the times. When recording artists first crooned into microphones and cut records into vinyl, an aspiring inventor in a Chicago music store worked nights to build a box that would play both sides of the record. While the Blue Grass Boys played to sold-out audiences in the Grand Ole Opry, guys and gals danced the night away by playing their song over and over again on the jukebox at a local pub. With the advancement of technology, today’s jukebox is more versatile than ever before. Touchscreen interfaces respond to the swipe of a finger (or can even be controlled by a mobile app). A vast virtual library of songs includes back catalog jukebox heroes alongside top artists of today.

No matter what genre of music you like, or who you listen with, the jukebox covers every era. From big band and jazz, country and blues to rock & roll, acoustic and electric, and everything in between, celebrate them with National Jukebox Day!


The first coin-operated player was invented in San Francisco by Louis Glass and his partner William S. Arnold. Louis Glass and his partner William S. Arnold invented the first coin-operated player in 1889 in San Fransisco, CA. In 1905, John Gabel introduced the “Automatic Entertainer.” It included 24 song selections. 

Enter “The Golden Era” of jukeboxes. In the 1930s, 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.

“The Silver Age” of jukeboxes began in 1946. At the time, the market demand for the newest and greatest technology soared. Fashionable and sleek, jukeboxes were more than just music players, they were centerpieces often flamboyant with color and chrome. Neon and sci-fi became a tremendous influence on style as well.

Modern Era

The 1960s started a new modern age for jukeboxes. Designs of coin-operated models went through radical changes. New materials and customer demand influenced aesthetics and increased the variety of song selections.

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.

TouchTunes introduced the next major innovation for the industry in 1998 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. They continued the innovation with the first-ever 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. Other applications soon followed including Virtuo and Playdium

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.

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By Troy Warren

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