Wurlitzers – From Organs to Jukeboxes

Wurlitzers were a prolific brand in terms of organs and jukeboxes from 1947. Overtime they have moved on from traditional organs to electric and officially went out of business in 1974, but let’s dive in deeper to the Wurlitzers music instrument production.

A Wurlitzer 4520 organ with intact pedals, bench, and speaker would still sell for $850 to $1,100, with most selling for $700 to $850. This is a very reasonable price for a quality organ and although many people do not play this instrument much anymore it is still very popular in the organ playing community. Organs are mostly known for being played in churches and for that sort of precession but what most people don’t know is that they are actually featured in quite a lot of songs, even to this day. They produce a very individual sound that you cannot get from a piano.

Organ playing was in the region of live music being played at clubs and bars as opposed to electronic music. Bands were all the rage back before technology was big because that is how people listened to music and danced the night away but after jukeboxes were created there was less and less need for bands and organs, so Wurlitzer moved on from organs to a more relevant music market.

In their day, the number of organs in circulation were nearly ten thousand and they were made by multiple companies but now only a few hundred exist today. The way music has evolved means that overtime many instruments become obsolete and organs are one of those that is continually fading out of view.

As technology has evolved the classic organ moved on to electric organs until they eventually evolved into jukeboxes.

Wurlitzers CD jukeboxes cost between $1,500 to $8,500 and were very prolific sellers in 1950/60s where this was the only form of machine that existed to play music out loud from relevant singers of the time. They were amazing in bars, clubs, and general cafes in any town, bringing people together with the love of music. A Wurlitzer jukebox is a classic jukebox that you would see in the movies or in a lookback from history video. They have the plain wooden jukeboxes and the light up colourful jukeboxes that would been seen more in a party atmosphere.

In the 70s the need for jukeboxes faded and therefore so did the Wurlitzer production because without the demand there was no point to continue producing them. In 1974 the Wurlitzer company eventually went out of business after the demand stopped.

Ironically nowadays people are craving that vintage look when it comes to clothes and music and so are paying thousands more on things like jukeboxes just to have one in their house. Vinyl records are being sold by the hundreds and people are wanting that classic sound that comes with this old technology. Of course, now things like Bluetooth and speakers are added to this equipment but overall, it is still the same thing. It is shocking how companies went out of business during the 70s to find that a few decades later they would become massive again, showing that even though people move forward they like to look back too.

To conclude, the transition from organs to jukeboxes happened very quickly during the 50/60s for a more electronic and modern form of music. Plus, the aesthetic of a jukebox is so much better, and people can play any music that they want to everyone in the room. Finally, although Wurlitzer went out of business in 1974 jukeboxes are now becoming very prolific in today’s world because vintage is now the new modern!

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