Celebrated Jukebox Design
Wurlitzer was most known for its classic jukebox design from the 1930s and 1940s, although the American company began as a piano manufacturer in the late 1800s. It quickly expanded into the manufacture of coin-operated record players and, as moviegoing became more popular, cinema organs. Wurlitzer branched into jukeboxes and freezers after the 1929 Wall Street Crash, creating its first jukebox in 1934 (the tenselection Model P10) and hiring Paul Fuller as its principal designer in 1935. Despite stiff competition from Seeburg, AMI, and RockOla, it quickly rose to the top of the field.
During Fuller’s thirteen years at Wurlitzer, the company’s designs were distinguished by the use of theatrical lighting effects (such as those produced by “bubble tubes,” colour filters, and polarised film), coloured plastics, and chromium plating. The 312 (1936), the arch-topped 750 Peacock (1941), and the extremely popular 1015 were among the great models of these years (1946).
Most Successful Jukebox Design
The latter was the most commercially successful jukebox design ever, with over 56,000 units sold in the first eighteen months of its release. Its primary visual design aspects served as the inspiration for new models in the 1980s, notably the One More Time CD jukebox, which used computerised technology rather than the considerably older phonograph technology of the pre-WWII ‘golden period’ of jukebox designs and production. Jukeboxes were no longer fashionable in the 1960s, thus the firm stopped producing them in the United States, though its German counterpart continued to do so.
Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.
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