Jukeboxes and Pinball Machines

All Time Classic Wurlitzer Model 1015


During my academic years, I made ends meet and furthered my studies by working evenings and weekends in jukebox and pinball shops. From 1970 to 1974, these coin accepting devices provided an excellent window to the technological world ahead of me. This was a boom time for both electronic advancements and entertainment revenues were at zenith.

By day, I was bored at school with the details of the cathode ray tube and remanufactured IF ocsillators, but by night was enthralled by the world of solid state and integrated circuitry. However, those I worked with (including my father) did not feel I was ready to service pinballs unsupervised until after restoring Gypsy Queen

I continued to restore "basket cases" and other "write offs" as well as regular service.

Drop-A-Card came later after being severely vandalized.

Still, after some impressive restorations, some were yet to be convinced about my technical skills. Our shop had a brand new machine on the floor which had everyone baffled. One such machine was Klondike

Social trends strongly influence revenues from coin operated devices. Much has changed from the "penny arcade" or the "nickelodeon". Political, legal and customs issues often come to play. We got alot of attention from concerning safety testing. Although the equipment was approved by Underwriter's Laboratories in the U.S. and cleared by Canada Customs, the lack of CSA stickers caused the industry great hardship and delay. As well, being a game of chance, pinballs were often subjected to trial against local gaming laws.

Another aspect of my job was programmer. It was my responsibility to select the Top 10 singles of the month. I would often check current music charts, often selecting songs without hearing them in advance. Songs would be charted as they started selling album copies, and the best time to purchase music was while in the 85 to 100 range. (Only after several months on the charts, would songs become hits). Early discovery of music was important. Late orders would cause back orders and revenue loss as populatity waned. Each 45 rpm record we bought had a tag included.

By 1974, Disco clubs were popping up everywhere and juke boxes were gradually being removed from locations as revenues declined. Juke boxes made a minor return in the early 90's with the invention of the CD changer.


Some of the major manufacturers of the day were:

Seeburg "Firestar" (1972) 200 Selection

Attractive design and new revolutionary "black box" electronics of the era.

Wurlitzer "Zodiac" Model 3500 (1971) 200 Selection

Highly reliable and serviceable, unlike its predecesor the "Statesman" Model 3400 which was plagued by manufacturing defects in new and untested components.