Rockin’ to the Jukebox

A morning with the AMI/Rowe R-82 Jukebox – a great conversation piece

This morning while trying to get ahead on a little housework, I decided to rock out to our jukebox, and figured I’d give a little history of it. It’s not one of the super expensive famous Wurlitzer’s but it gets the job done. We actually found this one Craigslist (this was during a period when I was searching for random things for a man cave – it’s also how we obtained a Foosball table, air hockey table, and an authentic full size Ms. Pacman arcade machine). Anyways, this guy in Braintree wanted to part with it, so we got it. In getting it home we actually had to get movers to move it because it weighs so much – all that mechanical workings are pretty heavy – also due to the nature of the innards they had to be very careful not to jostle it too much because it would be cranky.

It only holds 200 45 RPM LPs. Part of what we like to do is search bargain bins or antique stores once in a while to pick up some. It’s a crap shoot on the quality because a scratched record can ruin the experience, but overall we’ve been pretty lucky, and they’re actually pretty cheap. There’s a antique place in New Hampshire down the road from where we’ve done baby goat yoga that has never let us down in selection or quality. And yes, an iPod or some such can hold thousands of songs but we like the nostalgia of actually having a real jukebox. It’s always fun having friends over that can dance along it front of it with us. Most of our selections are from the 80s, but we also have 70s and older stuff. Every so often, in a need of change, I’ll swap out some records and their labels with new songs, although that is a bit of a pain.

It has an electronic selector – you just type the number that corresponds to the number on the song you want to play (I created all the labels myself – there’s an awesome free website where you type in your stuff and customize the look and then you can print them out, cut them to size, and insert them). There’s a mini-computer in this one that supposedly keeps track of what songs were played the most, etc. but I could never figure out how it actually works – I don’t think it’s connected but it has nothing to do with the actual playing of the songs. Speaking of, when I have the top open, it’s kinda cool to actually see the robot arm select the record you’ve chosen, grab it, and place it on the turntable. Then the needle comes over and places itself on the disc, and the tunes start flowing from the speakers, which are VERY LOUD if turned all the way up.

Hopefully, it will never need service, because most of folks who actually know how to repair these things are in their 80s or no longer working!

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