An American Social History

Book - 2002
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This work traces the history of the jukebox from its origins in the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Alva Edison in the 1880s up to its relative modern obscurity. The jukebox’s first twenty years were essentially experimental because of the low technical quality and other limitations. It then practically disappeared for a quarter-century, beaten out by the player piano as the coin-operated music machine of choice. But then, new and improved, it reemerged and quickly spread in popularity across America, largely as a result of the repeal of Prohibition and the increased number of bars around the nation. Other socially important elements of the jukebox’s development are also covered: it played patriotic tunes during wartime and, located in youth centers, entertained young people and kept them out of “trouble.” The industry’s one last fling due to a healthy export trade is also covered, and the book rounds out with the decline in the 1950s and the fadeout into obscurity. Richly illustrated.

Book News
Segrave, author of several other books on American culture and social history, traces the history of the jukebox from its origins in the invention of the phonograph in the 1880s, to its disappearance for a quarter of a century due to the popularity of the player piano, its increased popularity after the repeal of Prohibition, its hey day during the 1940s and 1950s, and its decline after the 1960s. Unfortunately, many of the b&w advertisements and photos included are of poor quality and don't do justice to the beauty of these machines. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2002
ISBN: 9780786411818
Characteristics: v, 375 p. : ill. ; 23 cm


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