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First Jukebox

One of the enduring symbols of American popular entertainment -- the jukebox -- was unveiled in San Francisco in 1889. Early machines that played music for coins worked much like music boxes. The classic jukebox came along in 1946 from the Wurlitzer Company. It was an art deco delight of neon and moving lights, playing 78 rpm records by such artists as Tommy Dorsey and Hank Williams for a nickel. Surviving examples are highly prized by collectors. While there are modern versions of jukeboxes in some eating and drinking places, most people now prefer to buy their own music, either on CDs or to play on their iPods, to the tune of just under $8.5 billion annually.


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