The original Wurlitzer jukebox, the Debutante, premiered in 1933. The company was exacting when it came to sound quality, and Wurlitzer built the jukebox with six speakers that utilized a large range of frequencies and extensive noise shielding and filtering, according to the North Tonawanda History Museum. The jukebox cabinets incorporated beauty, function and tradition.Continue Reading
The Debutante jukebox weighed over 200 pounds, played 10 tunes, made change and offered a high-quality sound for 5 cents. Wurlitzer met with disappointing sales performance because the jukebox entered the market during the depression. In 1938, Wurlitzer released the Model 24 which was a sales success owing in part to a large, flashy and colorful appearance and the “Wurlitzer Arch,” which became a recognizable mark of the company and the center of a very successful branding campaign.
Throughout World War II, demand for Wurlitzer jukeboxes remained steady because most military outposts wanted one to keep morale high and provide entertainment. The company produced the Victory model and shipped it all over the world to established United States military outposts. The last jukebox models produced by Wurlitzer, including Model 1550, offered 200 song selections but could not overcome the change in the record industry from 78 RPM to 45 RPM, along with the loss of product demand caused by declining numbers of sit-down dining places and increasing competition from marginal producers and FM radio.Learn more about Antiques