A Kalamazoo-made Jukebox
A very rare and unusual style of jukebox was once made in Kalamazoo. The devices played cylinder records. The Electric Phonograph Company, located on Willard Street, started business in the late 1910s as a manufacturer of musical devices. They apparently hoped that a coin-operated jukebox would prove popular at dance halls, skating rinks, and bars. They gambled, however, on a technology that was fading away—cylinder records—and finally had to close their doors in 1926 (by 1930, the commercial production of cylinder records had all but ceased). When Bowers Manufacturing Company moved into the factory in 1928, the owners found several of the old jukeboxes. Mildred Bowers, daughter-in-law of the company owner, insisted that one of them be saved. It is that one that is today in the Museum’s collection, donated by Mildred’s family after she died in 2009.