How to Identify a Seeburg Jukebox
By Lee Johnson
Seeburg Jukeboxes were made between 1928 and 1989, and achieved a degree of notoriety by appearing in the opening sequence to the TV comedy "Happy Days." The HF-100R is a particularly sought-after model that holds 50 records and can queue up 100 choices at a time. Being able to identify a Seeburg Jukebox may enable you to catch a bargain, or be useful to ensure you are getting the actual value in an auction or private sale.
Search the glass portion of the front of the jukebox for the "Seeburg" branding. On older models, the branding my read "JP Seeburg," and could appear in much smaller characters. For example, on the Symphonola B (1936), "JP Seeburg" appears in very small text, underneath the slightly larger "Symphonola" moniker. This is still on the front face of the jukebox, and could be discovered easily.
Find out whether the jukebox plays 78s or 45s. Seeburg made jukeboxes for 78s until 1950, when the M100B was released. The M100A is the only jukebox that crosses over this simple date border, having been manufactured until 1951. Generally, the type of record the jukebox plays identifies the rough date range, and this can be used to cross reference the jukebox with known Seeburg models.
Search for the model number. The model number is located in different positions, depending on the specific jukebox, but if found it can be cross referenced against a model list. Look at the pictures displayed beside your model number, and note any other special features. For example, if the model number is M100A, you can find out that it has a 100-selection mechanism. If the jukebox you are examining does not have that capability, you can safely assume there is some question regarding its authenticity.
Memorize common design features of Seeburg Jukeboxes. Having a look over the lists of Seeburg model jukeboxes can give you an idea of the differing design features across the models. For example, most models made in the "Silver Age" (from 1948 to 1961) have a glass top-half, which is tilted upward, and a protruding panel for selection of songs. The earlier models in the silver age feature a colorful grille on the lower front half. The M100A and M100B have a notable "V" shaped rainbow design on the lower half. If you are looking for a particular model, familiarize yourself with its special features, and if you are trying to determine whether a jukebox is a Seeburg, remember its most notable design features.
Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.