23 Nov: Meet The Jukebox

The ‘Nickel In The Slot Player’ – the world’s first jukebox – made its debut at the Palais Royale Saloon bar in San Francisco on 23rd November, 1889.

Created by Louis Glass and William S. Arnold, the contraption was an Edison Class M wax cylinder phonograph fitted with a coin mechanism and four stethoscope-like listening tubes, each operated individually and activated when a patron put a nickel in the slot.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why the pianola still had the upper hand for decades to come; reveal how this new-fangled gadget paved the way for 1970s game arcades; and consider how, for African-American musicians in particular, the evolution of the jukebox was a game-changer… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Nov. 23, 1889: S.F. Gin Joint Hears World’s First Jukebox’ (WIRED, 2010): https://www.wired.com/2010/11/1123first-jukebox/

• ‘Jukeboxes: An American Social History – By Kerry Segrave’ (McFarland, 2015):


• ‘Automation Hits The Orchestra’ (British Pathé, 1958):

#Inventions #Music