Jukebox Restoration Project of T. Marmo

My son-in-law is one heck of a mechanical genius. This is the story of his ingenuity and creativity as he rebuilt an empty shell into a working piece of music history. Tony is always tinkering in the garage in his gadget filled workspace.

Every once in awhile he comes across a piece of electronics that is a total mess. Not working and sometimes in many pieces. In October 2015, Tony came across an AMI E-80  jukebox from 1953 that had no mech and was in bits and pieces. This is how it looked when it arrived in his workspace.

restore step 1

He started working on the shell checking for what was needed. Turned out everything was needed. Tubes, electronic components like capacitors and  all the wiring plus it needed an amp. So he located an old discarded amp that had been stored in a barn and began rebuilding that amp as well.  The amp is also from 1953 although not the original that belonged in that jukebox.

The original jukebox was known for the revolving color wheel that spun as the music played. This was obviously missing from the pile of parts and so Tony improvised. He thought about it and decided that a tuna can was the same diameter as the end of the color wheel so he emptied two cans of tuna, made a little tuna salad, cleaned the cans and used them for the metal casing. Here is the color wheel with the improvised cans on each end.color wheel

Once he had the lights spinning he made a little video showing how the lights now worked.  The spinning at the bottom and the rotation of the top are all thanks to the tuna cans.



As you can see the interior is not quite anything remarkable. It is empty and is not even at this point in time housing the mech that spins the records.  That mech is still in pieces in the workspace. and scattered about the work table.


The next point is to make the shell come to life.  Make it ready to house the mechanism. While waiting for the mech work, wiring and schematic studying, Tony began to reconstruct the amp. The amp needed new caps and wiring. This is how it looked when it arrived. As I stated, it had been stored in a barn and had obvious damage.

Before restore

Here is a picture of it once he had sanded and painted it as he waited for the caps to arrive in the mail.

restore amp

This restore took 8 months to complete, but the finished product is a thing of beauty.  The sound is brilliant and the jukebox looks amazing. We have it in the foyer and play it every night. It is a wonderful addition to our home.
restore back

This is the finished product and a video so you can hear the sound quality and see the lights in action.

This is the Next project on Tony’s to do list. Another amazing find from Craigslist. I will share the process when he finishes it.

Next Project

If you like his work and are as impressed with him as I am, send him a comment. I promise to pass it along to him.


11 thoughts on “Jukebox Restoration Project of T. Marmo

  1. Your son-in-law has done a terrific job on this jukebox. Not so much shell at the start as a total wreck! Can’t believe the quality of restoration. I always the concept of the old jukeboxes – there were just a few CD ones around when I was a student but they really didn’t give any sense of atmosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right, I was being generous when I called it a shell 🙂 He has been working on these most of his life, His Father was a restorer and he learned it all from his dad. I am going to pass your compliment along to him. I know he will be appreciative. I may put another story up about another of his wreck to beauty restorations.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My boyfriend is an engineer so of course I had to show him this. He was impressed just as i was especially when it came to using the tuna cans! Pure genius right there The results are inspiring and beautiful. Keep up the good work and i can’t wait to see the other juxebox finished!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will pass that along to him! He was taught by watching his Dad restore electronics while growing up. The tuna cans was pretty darn impressive thinking outside of the box! lol I will be sure and show his next project from start to finish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!
        My Great Uncle had a Jukebox that looked like the one he is working on next but the downside it only played polka music. i believe that was more of a preference rather than it being broke like he would tell me though.
        I hope you have a nice day!

        Liked by 1 person

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