Dec 2, 2011

What's in a Name, Jukebox

The first Jukebox, or ‘Nickel-in-the-Slot’ was placed in service in 1889 in the Palais Royal Saloon in San Francisco, California.

Juke was a slang African word for a disorderly house, or house of ill repute, then a juke joint became a place where they had jukebox music. Now it is a name for a Chicago dance, and also means to fake, as in football. Some diners still have juke boxes

The unit, developed by Louis T. Glass and William Arnold contained an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes. There was a coin slot for each tube. 5 cents bought a few minutes of music. After receiving a coin, it unlocked a mechanism, allowing the listener to turn a crank which simultaneously wound the spring motor and placed the reproducer's stylus in the starting groove. The new device took in $1,000 in six months.

The more modern, but still classic jukebox has buttons with letters and numbers on them that, when entered in combination, are used to play a specific selection.