Put Another Nickel In

AMI_Multi-Horn_High_Fidelity_200_Play_Jukebox_-_The_Richard_Hamilton_Exhibition_-_Tate_Modern,_London*Put another nickel in
In the nickelodeon
All I want is having you
And music, music, music

That song, Music, Music, Music by Teresa Brewer, became a #1 hit in 1950 and sold more than one million records. I thought of it recently when I walked past a nearby Rocky Cola restaurant, a throwback (something similar to something that existed in the past) to the restaurants of the 1950s, and saw the jukebox inside.

When I was in high school, if you and your friends wanted to listen to popular music you often went to your favorite cafe (small restaurant that served light meals and drinks) and listened to it on a jukebox, a coin-operated machines for playing music. Teenagers spent many hours sitting in cafes, drinking Cokes or milkshakes (a drink made out of milk and ice cream), and listening to their favorite music. Just like in the television program Happy Days.

Jukeboxes were large, brightly decorated music-players (photo 1). Each one held a number of plastic records (circular discs for storing music) and a device for selecting and playing them.

Most records held one song. To play a song, you put a nickel (five-cent coin) into the jukebox, found the song number on a list of song titles, pressed the buttons on the jukebox for the song – a letter and a number, like D3 – and the jukebox found the record with your song and played it.

diner-jukeboxIn some cafes, a special extension of (addition to) the jukebox (photo 2) made it possible for you to choose the music you wanted from your table or at the counter (long flat area for serving food) you sat at to eat.

Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, also invented the first technology for recording music and other sounds. But it was Louis Glass, a San Francisco bar owner described as a “wild-haired inventor,” who created the first jukebox in 1889. It used Edison’s technology for playing a recording and required a nickel to play one song. Rather than the high-quality speakers of later jukeboxes, Glass’s customers had to use listening tubes, similar to a doctor’s stethoscope (instrument for listening to a patient’s heart or breathing), attached to the jukebox. Only four people could listen at the same time.

The popularity of jukeboxes grew during the early part of the 20th century and was greatest from the 1940s through the mid-1960s. Thousands of them were made by companies like Wurlitzer and Seeburg. In the 1940s, 75% of the records produced in the U.S. went into jukeboxes.

Only two companies – one in the U.S. and the other in the U.K. – make jukeboxes today, mostly for throwback restaurants like Rocky Cola. If you’d like to learn more about jukeboxes, check out How the Jukebox Got Its Groove.

* A nickel is a five-cent coin; a nickelodeon is a coin-operated piano or jukebox, the topic of the blog post.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and Dave’s Computer Tips.


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12 Responses to Put Another Nickel In

  1. Dan says:

    Hello Warren..Hey guys..

    I am old enough to have experienced first hand a jukebox…wow..look at those things.
    I was wondering why are they called jukebox? I have found the explanation googling it, but it’s too long and don’t want to do a copy and paste.

    It seems as though ^jook^ was a slang term used by blacks in the south of the country and it comes from that…but I’m not sure.

    One last thing..since Warren is a biker I wanted to share with him that after more than 10 years I did not ride a bike..I have just purchased one.
    It’s an hybrid made by the Italian manufacturer ^Bianchi ^ model Camaleonte ….
    It’s a bike worth 600 euros. In the store there were beautiful bikes worth thousands of euros..
    Tested today for the first time…wow I did not remember one has to sweat so much..I am satisfied by my purchase.


  2. Parviz says:

    Hi Every body,
    As always, very educational.
    previously, I have heard of Jukeboxes many times. But this is the first time I get a lot of information about them.
    Thanks Warren.

  3. Peter says:

    In a digitized world ,all the greet a jukebox get is a nostalgic smile from baby boomers.

    Once an inherent part of the bar scene ,now is just a quasi_essential part of an antique touch some bars promote.

    U still spot them at a dark corner of some bars mostly dusted and broken as people barley acknowledge their existence.

    The coin operated music machine that use to be the first point of interaction at every bar has turned to this piece of furniture that people can’t even relate to.

    It is sad but it is true

    Hanging out in bars , I still sometimes spot them at the further ,darker corner of the bar greeted just by passing glances of people.

    Trust me that is all a jukebox get thses days
    No once talks about them ,just a glance and that would be all the treat the box that used to being about a lot of joy get these days

    How easy people throw away pieces of history

    A Learning guid member


  4. emiliano says:

    Parviz, sure are you friend?
    So many time without any news from you Parviz, how are you getting on?
    What about your life?.

    Yes, frequently I have remembered you my friend so now is a pleasure to
    see you here.

    Tell us something about what have you done along this long time in silence.
    Even you have my mail to be in touch as much as you like, it would be good
    for me now that life has gone in a way I didn´t like.

    Best regards. emiliano

  5. emiliano says:

    Jukeboxes take me to my youth dear Warren, I love them and I have listened to
    the vinilos singles so many times being a young with less than twenty or even
    some more.

    One of the songs I could remember played by a jukebox was “Satisfaction”
    of Rolling Stones, I loved it and it sounds once and again here in Madrid.

    Not only that, there was several songs of the sixties played in these loving
    machines that get so much pleasure to a whole generation of that years.
    Another one I remember was Apache from “The Shadows” and of course
    some of the Beach Boys like “Good Vibrations”.

    Yes, I love those years with such a good music.

  6. emiliano says:

    Thinking about these Junkeboxes I could say they were like magic
    machines, fascinated by the way they took the single from the tower
    and started to play it.

    All magic now has gone away, I have thousands of mp3 at hand
    with the Amazon or Apple cloud what is good, of course but so
    easy and without the touch of magic these machines have.

    Nothing to be now with that sixteen years where we enjoyed such
    incredible music like exquisites pieces of art.
    “Abundance spoils the pleasure”


  7. emiliano says:

    Talking about another subject, U.K. has been always aside from Europe by their customs and way of living and thinking.
    The first and unique occasion I have been in England two years ago I could see I was in other world out from Europe.

    Everything was so different from other countries I have been before that I was amazed and in other way I like it, yes
    they have their own identity I thought, so now that they have voted YES to the brexit I am not surprised at all.

    Then want to continue with their traditions and it is so abvious when you could visit their cities that at the end they have
    what they really wanted.
    In the old, very old houses, nothing could be touched or changed, their colleges are so old and different that they have
    nothing to be with the one I have seen or visited in Europe.

    So, congratulations English people at least you have what you wanted but what I don´t know it is if it will be for good
    or for bad.

    Future it is so confused that no one could say anything about the consequences.


    Last year I have been in Netherland, Germany and Belgium, these countries being differents have something in common
    and I could feel I was in Europe and feel myself like an European citizen, but being in England I didn´t feel so.

    Regards. emiliano

  8. emiliano says:

    Even more, Anglos have been always racists with all the countries they conquered or
    They were racist even with Irish people, the same as with Indians from North America
    or natives from Australia or New Xealand, not to talk about India or Pakistan.

    Now they don´t want inmigrants who are running away from the Next Orient War, so
    by by Anglos, always you have been the same and done the same with everyone that
    are not WASP (White, Anglo, Saxon, Protestant) but what is even worst, in EE.UU.,
    you have transmited that feeling.
    Only we have to see Mr. Donald Trump, aggg……you really are filthy and nasty.

    Of course, this is my exclusive opinion and I don´t have the truth in my hand
    but I have my own ideas inside my mind.


  9. emiliano says:

    Sorry New Zealand or Australia where nearly exterminate all natives
    just the same like in North America.
    By the way I like English language and G.Britain was beautiful but
    it has nothing to be with History or way of doing things.

  10. Mari Carmen says:

    Hey, hello

    Please, pay attention. I’ve got a happy discovery. I’ve just realized that the word janitor probably comes from Latin!!

    Thank you, bye

  11. emiliano says:

    Two years ago, more or less, I could visited London.
    It was the first time I was in the city and I could say I was looking forward visiting the city.
    The city gives me everything I was expecting and even more, yes, I was really fascinated by the air, the streets, and
    the people.
    Once at home I could write something about my visit and the good impressions I received watching the city and walking throught its streets.
    I like to remember this feeling here for you friends of the blog.



    Yes, coming back from London to Madrid where there is home, what may I think or say about London and the English culture, seeing only a City like London?.
    Very few in fact, London is not England, it could be like a piece of the English culture when I have seen the old houses, the tradition, the Palace, and some of the Little cities that sorrounded the big Metrópoli.
    After eight days in the city, also in Cambrige and Oxford and the little city where Shakespeare was born, only I could say I have been fascinated by the air, the people, and by London itself.

    To me one of the best and nicer cities I have been. Yes, I liked London absolutely.
    Their wide streets, the Thame River, of Course The Parlament, The Big Beng and the Tower of Londong one of the most interesting castles of strengths that I have seen in the middle of a city.
    So much history within its walls.
    English history but also history of some other European kingdoms from the Middle Ages.
    Yes, I was impressed by the Tower of London knowing something about the evens that keeps its walls, rooms, towers and dungeons.
    Ilustred people who were imprisoned within its walls and even beheaded inside the enclosure.
    Knowing the life of these persons and what represented in history of the world at that time.

    Again I have to say that was fascinating to walk within the walls of the Tower.
    Lot of people were killed inside the Tower, som of them were:
    William Hastings, barón de Hasting (1483)
    Tomás Moro, (1535)
    Ana Bolena, reina consorte (1536)
    Margaret Pole, condesa de Salisbury (1541)
    Jane Boleyn, vizcondesa de Rochford (1542)
    Catalina Howard, reina consorte (1542)
    Jane Grey, reina (1554)
    Robert Devereux, conde de Essex (1601)

    But even dozens of illustred people were in jail along years and years inside the Tower.
    Of course, this is history and every country has its own to remeber and have some good lessons after all if we don´t
    forget ours and other.

    The Ravens of the Tower of London.
    The Ravens are one of the most famous elements of this monument, widely photographed and persecuted by the children. Many visitors are trying to lure them with food. And the guards of the Tower of London safe caring well for them…there are six who are the official number, and some other more to be alive to replace the dead one of the six.
    And it is to that account the legend that at time of Carlos II the wise assured the King that if one day the Ravens leaving the Tower of London realm and the fortress would be come down.
    One of the guards that protect the Tower, the Maestro de los Cuervos (“Ravenmaster”), cares for the Ravens and made an incision in one of the wings of the Ravens to avoid to go flying from the enclosure. There are large cages that secure the crows and many sitting in different parts of the enclosure.
    The legend has something to do with the great fire that destroyed London on 1666 but the Tower
    was safe may be because The Ravens were inside it.

    Looking for returning to London, I could say, see you later nice beautiful city of London, unique by all ways.


  12. emiliano says:


    Following with my records of the trip to London, I could remember what it was the visit to the village where Shakespeare qas born, and that is was I felt being there.

    If not for the amount of people, from all over the world who come and go through the streets incessantly seemed that at any moment you take a leap in history and you will find Shakespeare himself strolling through some of its streets. Although I assume that in the time of the writer everything would be much older and of course rather more dirty than today.

    Being in the village I had observed neatness now when you walk around this town like a story, pretty unreal, it is absolute like a fairy tale. Do not see a single paper, cigarette, nothing, and it is easy to see if you look at the photos
    I took in the city.
    Undoubtedly is a showcase maintained, clean, beautiful, but nothing to do with what would this city in the time of his illustrious citizen that was William Shakespeare.

    We like to think that at that time this small town might look like what is now, and nothing is further from the reality that such a comparison.
    If you think it’s absurd, who collected the garbage, feces, the streets would be full of mud, horse dung and other idols that his people would throw out the windows.
    As in the majority of cities of that period of history dirt, poverty and filth would go on the same hand, which today we see a charming, lovely tale, worthy of being photographed again and again.
    Millions of times actually over the years. We would like to all people around the world have such a city, the birthplace of the most illustrious character of English and world literature, as global English and comes to the same thing.

    Walking through its streets, seeing their homes maintained, it is easy to forget that the historical reality of the streets and houses would be safe to something completely different from what we see now.
    cCurse obliterating parked cars glued to the sidewalk, back then we could find wagons, horses and stables where they watered the beasts of the posts.

    The monument call it “Memorial” in memory of the clergy and citizens who were sentenced to the stake for religious reasons.
    As has been through history Religion causes millions of dead.

    It was the Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, grand daughter of Catholic Kings of Spain, who wanted to convert again the Church of England to the Church Catholic under the Pope of Rome, for it appears that it was dedicated to the stake condemn anyone who does not abjured the new religion adopted by his father Henry to marry Anne Boleyn.
    Later, after Queen Mary died (called bloodroot, or bloody) was Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII who was dedicated to pursuing every Catholic who was in sight, just the contrary of done by the former Queen Mary, this time sending gut Catholic priests who do not abjure his allegiance to Pope of Rome. usual, first one, then another and the common people and paying the whims of the powerful.

    It is not now when so many people suffers about their believes, it has been something really terrible that has been joined to the men and women along history.
    There is not any country that not has these events to be remembered and being ashamed by them.
    Some of the funest consequences of the Spanish Inquisition in history was expulsion of Jews and Moors out of their
    lands, their country for hundred of years and it has been something we Spaniards have paid along years and years.
    It was a brutal injustice that had a high costs for thousand of people.

    To me this has been the worst made by the so called Catholic Kings Isabel/Fernando and still we are paying in all aspects the cost of such an absurd crass.
    All these people that were expulsed out from Spain were the real cultural cream we had in all aspects of science, language and culture.

    Of course this is my personal opinion, as ever, but also Cuca´s opinion that knows a lot about what history has been
    along centuries.

    Regards. emilliano

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