I am writing today about a company that is near and dear to me. Wurlitzer. Famous for their beautifully crafted jukeboxes.
This company started not far from where I grew up in North Tonawanda, New York.
Wurlitzer Jukebox Beginnings
The first jukebox was rolled out in 1933 and was fittingly called the Débutante. Unfortunately sales were not great due to the Depression. Not many could afford to spend a nickel on a song when a loaf of bread cost the same.
Luckily this didn't deter Farny Wurlitzer, who decided to hire a designer and rework the Débutante. His designer was artistic and innovative. Using colorful plastics and materials he decided to showcase the changer. Its turning and playing both sides of the record fascinated many.
Through the Depression a few models were released with sales still lacking.
Finally in 1938, designer Mr. Fuller, AKA “Mr. Design”, started to see sales increase. By the 1940’s his branding design “Wurlitzer Arch” was second only to Coca Cola as the most recognized mark in the world.
During the war demand became high for Wurlitzer Jukeboxes with military personnel serving over seas. Nothing boosts moral like Blaring music from home and it played in many military clubs around the globe.
Wurlitzer became a well established world renowned brand.
The first model produced after the war was the gorgeous model 1015. It was a work of art and beauty.
In 1949 the last 78 RPM model was released, it was also the last design of the “Wurlitzer Arch”.
Wurlitzer closed its doors in North Tonawanda, NY in 1983 after being bought out by Harris Company and moving to Chicago.
After 50 years in business Wurlitzer produced an estimated 5 million units.
The iconic jukeboxes spark many memories. Their Vintage style exudes a timeless glamour that few companies have ever achieved.
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