Jukeboxes: An American Social History

Overview

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 obscurity in the year 2000. The jukebox's first twenty years were essentially experimental because of the low technical quality and other limitations. It then practially 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 ...
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Overview

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 obscurity in the year 2000. The jukebox's first twenty years were essentially experimental because of the low technical quality and other limitations. It then practially 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.

Author Biography: Kerry Segrave is also the author of Age Discrimination by Employers (2001, $32.50), Baldness: A Social History (1996, $32.50), American Films Abroad (1997, $48.50), American Television Abroad (1998, $48.50), Tipping (1998, $32.50) Movies at Home (1999, $38.50), and Shoplifting: A Social History (2001, $32.50; all from McFarland), among other works exploring American culture. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Social historian Segrave (Shoplifting: A Social History) provides the first detailed investigation of jukeboxes from their inception to the present day. Starting with Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph in 1878, he chronicles the development of the first primitive jukebox in 1889 and its quick eclipse by the player piano for nearly 25 years. He continues with the amazing resurgence of jukeboxes in the 1930s with the repeal of prohibition and the refinement of the sound quality of phonographs. The author describes the heyday of the jukebox culture from 1934 to 1948, when people danced to more than 350,000 jukeboxes in local grills, youth centers, and taverns, and deals with a stable jukebox industry in the 1950s, when companies such as Wurlitzer and Seeberg exported their music machines around the world. Segrave ends with the decline of jukeboxes by the 1960s, when fast-food chains replaced local diners, televisions appeared in bars, and people listened instead to long-play records and the more mobile transistor radio. Relying heavily on Billboard as a source, the author offers a fact-filled, very focused study that will appeal primarily to academics. Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Social historian Segrave (Shoplifting: A Social History) provides the first detailed investigation of jukeboxes from their inception to the present day. Starting with Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph in 1878, he chronicles the development of the first primitive jukebox in 1889 and its quick eclipse by the player piano for nearly 25 years. He continues with the amazing resurgence of jukeboxes in the 1930s with the repeal of prohibition and the refinement of the sound quality of phonographs. The author describes the heyday of the jukebox culture from 1934 to 1948, when people danced to more than 350,000 jukeboxes in local grills, youth centers, and taverns, and deals with a stable jukebox industry in the 1950s, when companies such as Wurlitzer and Seeberg exported their music machines around the world. Segrave ends with the decline of jukeboxes by the 1960s, when fast-food chains replaced local diners, televisions appeared in bars, and people listened instead to long-play records and the more mobile transistor radio. Relying heavily on Billboard as a source, the author offers a fact-filled, very focused study that will appeal primarily to academics. Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786411818
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/11/2002
  • Pages: 381
  • Sales rank: 1,139,970
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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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
App. A City Jukebox Taxes and Ratios of Jukes and Locations to Population 307
App. B Jukebox Exports 327
App. C Jukebox License/Fee/Tax by State 335
App. D U.S. Exports of Coin-Operated Machines 337
Notes 339
Bibliography 355
Index 369
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