Sunday, August 31, 2008


I haven't been blogging much lately, because with the schools and universities starting up again, I've been busy. But today, I read Gary Mason's article in the Globe and Mail regarding the increasing popularity of the old vinyl records (33 1/3 and 45 rpm records) and it prompted me to make some comments. "Vinyl" was the leading technology for recorded music (the word "record" was used for individual vinyl disks - as in: did you listen to Elvis' latest "record"?) at an earlier time.

I've stayed true to my roots in that regard. I still own a fine Dual 33 rpm record player with a Shure M93E dynamic cartridge mounted in the "tonearm", and from my days in the coin music and vending business I still have two "jukeboxes", one designed for 33 rpm records and the other for 45 rpm. The jukeboxes and ancillary loudspeakers were built by a company named Seeburg (there were other companies in that business, too, for instance Wurlitzer).

This is all "stereophonic" technology of about 40 years ago (the electronics are transistorized). Here are some pictures:

The 33rpm jukebox. It was built as a "home unit" - you can see how it looks like furniture. Each of the 'slanted' sides contains a 12" woofer and cone tweeters - and crossover networks. You can play records, or listen to am/fm radio.

The 33rpm "record rack". It holds 50 33rpm records (LP - "long playing" about 15-20 minutes per side with about 6 or 7 "records" or "cuts" on each side).

Each 33rpm record side is selected by a rotary dial - just like the old telephones. You can select one, several, or all records in the machine. There are about 700 cuts available (it all depends on the number of cuts per side). And here's a mix of old and new: the system sounds great still, at least to my aging ears - so I play my little mp3 player through one of the auxiliary audio inputs.

An afterthought (added Sep 1): Looking at the mp3 player, it has more functionality than the home unit. At 2GB, it can hold about the same number of music selections. It also has radio, and can store videos (impossible with the home unit). It does this in a space volume which is many hundreds of times smaller than what technology needed 40 years ago.

The two twin 15" bass reflex woofer with exponential horn tweeter loudspeakers with internal crossover networks. These will rattle the house if I turn up the volume too much.

The prototype of the colour organs I used to build is still running - it responds to the bass beat of the music being played in the "home unit".

The 45rpm jukebox. It holds fifty 45rpm records - one cut per side, usually. Again, you could choose one, several, or all of a hundred possible selections.

The 45 rpm record playing mechanism - the 33rpm juke box has a large scale version of this, too.

The 45 rpm record rack behind the playing mechanism.
These are the toys my wife I enjoyed in our young years - when we had many parties in the "rec room". Our granddaughters, who live next door often play the music on them, too; maybe the equipment will enjoy a "renaissance" as they grow up.


  1. What a great post. Love the photos.

    I'm 37 now, but I remember the great care with which my dad maintained his hi-fi system when I was growing up. Thanks for taking me back.

    It's also amazing that despite the advances in technology, there just seems to be a more "disposable" quality about the electronics today; I don't see me passing my ipod nano on to my kids someday!

  2. Yes is there any way you can give me the model number of the Seeburg 33rpm jukebox? I have over 1000 12" LP albums and I was looking for a jukebox that would play them. Do you know of any? I have been searching the internet far and wide. Any help would be great. Thanks...