claims to be a jukeboxAt the Waffle House the other day, I saw this against the wall. Although it claims to be a jukebox, I have my doubts. Jukeboxes in my childhood had records that actually spun as reward for an inserted quarter. Then came jukeboxes that appeared to have CDs inside, and now no pretense of rotating media remain. This thing has a touch screen and slots for dollar bills! no quarters allowed. It even has an app so you can control it from your smartphone. This appears to me to be an iPod Touch, enlarged a thousand times.

For perspective, from today's Writers Almanac:

It was on this day in 1889 the jukebox made its debut at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. It was called a "nickel-in-the-slot player" and was built by the Pacific Phonograph Co. and installed by entrepreneur Louis Glass and his business associate William S. Arnold.

The jukebox consisted of an Edison Class M Electric Phonograph inside a free-standing oak cabinet to which were attached four stethoscope-like tubes. Each tube could be activated by depositing a coin so that four people could listen to a single recording at one time — the sound equivalent of the peep-show nickelodeon. Towels were supplied so that Palais Royale patrons could wipe off the listening tubes between uses. Despite competition from player pianos, this primitive jukebox was a big hit across the country. In its first six months of service, the nickel-in-the-slot earned more than $1,000.


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