Perhaps we could be accused of overusing terms like ‘iconic’ and ‘classic', and we can’t deny that they do appear quite frequently on our website, but this is only because so many of the machines that pass through our hands are considered to be landmark designs. A fair few have also become part of our cultural history, or at least that of the United States. However, we now find that we've painted ourselves into a corner so to speak, because if a large part of your range has been described as ‘iconic’ where do you go for superlatives when a genuine Wurlitzer 1015 turns up?
Put simply, the ‘Wurlitzer 1015’ is the one that started it all. In the same way that ‘Hoover’ became the generic name for vacuum cleaners and ‘Biro’ became synonymous with ballpoint pens, so the name ‘Wurlitzer’ imprinted itself on the public consciousness as another word for a jukebox.
Rudolph Wurlitzer was born into a family of musical instrument makers in Germany in 1829 before emigrating to America at the tender age of 24. He began by importing his family’s instruments and selling them in the US market but quite quickly set up a manufacturing business and in 1880 the first Wurlitzer piano was built in the US. Electric pianos came next, shortly followed by the cinema and theatre organs, dubbed ‘Mighty Wurlitzers’, that provided such a stirring accompaniment to the silent movies of the time.
In 1933 the New York based company bought the rights to a patented jukebox mechanism and under the management of Farny Wurlitzer, Rudolph’s successor, they began designing and manufacturing their first jukebox, the ‘Debutante’. Known as the ‘small man’s concert hall’, it enjoyed tremendous popularity and paved the way for even greater success when Wurlitzer’s inspired designer, Paul Fuller, came up with the 'Bubbler' design that we all know and recognise today.
At the end of the war they launched the 1015, which played 24 78rpm records and sold a remarkable 56,000 units in its first 18 months. People were hypnotised by the shifting colours and animated bubble tubes, not to mention the terrific sound quality which would give many of today’s jukeboxes a run for their money!
These days Wurlitzer is owned by Gibson Guitar Corp., who bought the company in 2006 and has offices all over the world. Despite the number of 1015s produced in the 1940s well preserved examples rarely come up for sale. It’s safe to assume that most collectors hold on to them mainly because of their legendary status, but the fact that their values keep rising might also have something to do with it!
Allow us to explain how and why we go to such extreme lengths when repairing and restoring vintage games.
Over the years we are fortunate enough to have gathered together a select few individuals whose enthusiasm for jukeboxes, pinball machines and vintage arcade games ensures that they are never less than 100% committed to the task in hand. They quite simply love breathing new life into old circuitry and want to see as many of these classic pieces preserved for future generations as possible.
Not for them the perfunctory checklists and proverbial ‘tyre kicking’ which pass for an inspection at other dealers but instead an unflinching determination to get to grips with the detail. This usually begins with a thorough strip down of the machine and a forensic examination of the internal workings. They’ll be aware of the particular quirks and foibles of any given piece and instead of just replacing failed parts they’ll always go the extra mile, swapping out components which are likely to fail in the near future.
An obvious comparison would be between a classic car which remains on show in a garage and one that you can actually enjoy driving.
Rare though many of these machines are, rarer still are the examples which have been properly restored or can truthfully be said to be in full working order. It goes without saying that when unrestored machines come up for sale online or at auction, they’ll often be priced rather lower than the machines sold by The Games Room Company, and the point we wish to get across above all others is that there’s a reason for this.
In this business The Games Room Company’s reputation is second to none, and as it’s been hard won over the years it’s something we never take for granted. Every machine that goes off to a customer, be they corporate or private, is a potential advertisement for the business and if we didn’t do our job properly then we wouldn’t have the high number of loyal, returning customers that we do.
We’re justly proud of our One Year Parts and Labour Warranty, which extends to on-site visits so if your machine does require some attention, you won’t necessarily have to endure the pain of separation.
We’ve always recognised that with specialised products such as these the after sales service is just as important as the initial sale. It takes a long time to build a reputation and over the years our commitment has won us not just the loyalty of our clients but also the trust of the last remaining American Jukebox manufacturer, Rockola, who in 2014 appointed us as their Exclusive British dealer.
Music itself is an important part of our business, as reflected by our treasured vinyl library, so we are able to help you source and create the perfect playlist. We also make all of the title cards in original typewriter font – so if you’re a bit stuck for choice, we are only too happy to help!
The Games Room Company is one of the oldest jukebox dealers in the country. Our founder, Reginald Waldersmith, first learned about jukeboxes in the early 1950s when we were servicing jukeboxes on American Air Force bases. We’ve been selling jukeboxes since 1962, so know a thing or two about our products! Our showroom will gladly assist you on any questions you may have before or after you purchase any Games Room Company equipment.