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