Yes, this article is about those "tiny" jukeboxes that some collectors gravitate to either before or after they get their first full-size jukebox. Amazingly, there are only a few models of what I will refer to as the "teeny weeny jukes". The criteria for this selection is that they must be small, play records, and preferably take coins ... the only exception in the "non-coin category" included is the Bing Crosby Junior Juke ... which is popular with Jukebox collectors ... as a matter of fact, the color photo included here is of my Junior Juke! This article is restricted to the Junior Juke (1948) , Ristaucrat (1950-52), Williams (1951-52) Production and Chicago Coin (1951) .
Bing Crosby Junior Juke - 1948
"Not a Toy but a Real Phonograph with a 4" Speaker ... Plays 12" records, beautifully molded in colorful plastics, lights up and changes colors as it plays, 2 tube electronic amplification with volume control, excellent tone. 16" high, 13" deep, 14" wide" ... AC only"
The Bing Crosby Junior Jukebox was announced to the public in Chicago, Illinois on November 28, 1948. "Christmas is just around the corner, and for many children, this Christmas will be jukebox time. The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company, New York, is introducing, via retail merchants throughout the United States, a Junior Juke Box which was developed by the Bing Crosby Research Foundation" In addition to its colorful yellow and "marbleized" plastics, the sides of the Junior Juke were metal painted with a design motif. It was priced at the time for $30 ... quite pricey if you figure inflation. No estimate of production is known.
The following small jukeboxes all use 45 RPM records, capitalizing on the shift to these 7" records by the release of the Seeburg M100B. These little jukeboxes were marketed as cost effective stopgap while major jukebox manufacturers were still scrambling to shift production to 45 RPM models.
Ristaucrat 45 - 1950
Ristaucrat, Inc was located at 1216 E. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton, Wisconsin, USA and announced the 45 Non-Selective Ristaucrat in Billboard Magazine on June 24, 1950. Initially, over 1200 were placed on location and production was stepped up to 100 per day per "press releases". The Ristaucrat 45 was available in either light or dark hardwood finish. According to the manufacturer, it "Plays 12-45 RPM Records, restacks automatically ... is set for 5 cent play or 2 for 5 cents ... is lightweight, weighs only 30 lbs. Measures a compact 12" high, 12 3/4" deep and 16" high" The known serial number range (only 4 data points) for this model ranges from 1099 to 3435. Given a conservative estimate based on known serial numbers, then only 2400 were produced, it is more likely that the serial number range started at 0001, so an estimated production of 3400+ can be assumed.
Ristaucrat 45S - 1951-52
About a year after the release of the Ristaucrat 45, the S-45 was announced. A July 1951 ad in Coin Machine Journal stated: "Low cost selective Music for all locations. 12 record, twin speaker 45 RPM Selective Phone ... the Ristaucrat S-45 ... Plays 12-45 RPM records with smooth, noiseless operation. Records Play in rotation - no long, noisy, restacking periods between selections. Twin Speakers - only the S-45 has two speakers to give a true, clear tone to any record" The specifications for this record play was: Weight, 40 Lbs, 13 1/2" wide, 16 1/2" deep and 17" high.
The known serial number range (only 4 data points) for this model ranges from 50408 to 52898. Given a conservative estimate based on known serial numbers, then only 2500 were produced, it is more likely that the serial number range started at 50001, so an estimated production of 3000+ can be assumed.
William's Music Mite - 1951-1952
In February of 1951, Williams Manufacturing Co, of 4242 W. Filmore St, Chicago, Illinois, announced the Music Mite .. "This unit is a miniature, low cost, selective phonograph, playing ten 7", 45 rpm records ... and is the product of more than a year in design by Harry Williams, president of the company.
The unit, as it name implies, is small, measuring only 20 1/4" high, 13" wide and 13" deep. It weighs only 50 lbs. It is easily portable, and was designed for quick and simple installation on a bar or counter. A complementary (meaning matching, not free!) pedestal is provided, however as accessory equipment, for spots in locations with floor space for installation. The pedestal is 32 1/4" high, 16" wide, 14" deep, weighing 29 lbs. When Music Mite is set on pedestal a phonograph installation measuring 52" high is the result."
Like the Chicago Coin "Hit Parade" which would follow, the Music Mite used an RCA ten selection 45 rpm mechanism. The music mite took only nickels and accepted up to 40 credits. Williams produced the Music Mite all through 1951 and to late 1952, when sales had dramatically dropped of, along with others ... late 1952 marked the short heyday of these "teeny weeny jukes".
The known serial number range for the Music Mite is from 0293 to 1385 (based on 5 serial numbers) so for know, it is estimated that about 1400 Music Mites were produced.
Chicago-Coin "Hit Parade" - 1951
Chicago Coin Machine Company, of 1725 Diversey Blvd, Chicago, Illinois, was the last entrant to the novelty jukebox market with the release of the 10 selection "Hit Parade"in 1951 . At the same time they had also entered a niche market with their "Band Box", which has withstood the test of time much better than the "Hit Parade".
Of all the mini-jukeboxes, the Hit Parade was the largest and heaviest being 21" high, 20" wide, 17" deep, and weighed 66 Lbs (87 Lbs Packed). Sales literature touted its features "5c-10c-25c drop coin chute ... credit unit accepts up to 45 nickels ... cancel button, volume control and off-on switch ... famous RCA record changing mechanism ... the interior lighting effect of the Hit Parade is a shimmering array of colors, reflected from gleaming 'Apollo metal' surfaces .."
A matching pedestal stand was available as an option. The stand was 30" high, 20" wide, 13" deep and weighed 27 Lbs (40 Lbs Packed).
Production estimates for Hit Parade is difficult due to the limited amount of serial numbers (two) collected by the author. The two known serial numbers are 4996 and 5517. It can then be assumed that about 600+ were manufactured. As the '50 Chicago Coin Bandbox had serial numbers ranging to 3000, and the '52 Bandbox serial numbers start at 5600, for now it is not assumed that the Hit Parade Serial numbers started at "1".
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