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November 23

Jukebox

The jukebox put an end to the craze surrounding player pianos, which until then had been the main way recorded music was played in public places.

Photo by flickr user "Truus, Bob & Jan of Holland"

1889: Music On Demand
The jukebox debuts in San Francisco, California
When patrons arrived at San Francisco’s Palais Royal Saloon, they found a curious, cabinet-like object that played music. It was built by the Pacific Phonograph Company and had tubes poking out of it; up to four listeners at a time could pick up a tube and listen to the same tune being played. Of course, they had to drop a coin into a slot near each tube to hear a thing.

The man who installed the jukebox at this bar, Louis Glass, dubbed the machine the “nickel-in-the-slot” player. It was a big hit at the Saloon, and word soon spread from city to city of this amazing song-playing machine. By putting musical choice in the hands of patrons, jukeboxes revolutionized the way people listened to music.
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