Wurlitzer P-10 Jukebox (1934)

Symptom: Effects of time travel
Location: Denver, CO

The P10 was Wurlitzer’s first jukebox.  The repeal of prohibition in December 1933 led to the opening of many public drinking places and live musicians and jukeboxes were the primary forms of entertainment.  Wurlitzer and other jukebox manufacturers were quick to capitalize on the repeal.

Advertisement for the Wurlitzer P10 (click for larger).

This jukebox was found in the old Denver Hardware building that was slated for demolition. The owner was able to purchase it for approximately $100. The owner contacted me to determine what was needed to get it working.

Although the cabinet was a little rough, the amplifier and mechanism seemed to be largely untouched. It looked like once it stopped working, no one had tried to fix it and it just sat for decades. The internal counter says it played 40,000 records in its life.

Once I got the mechanism unfrozen and lubricated, I discovered the motor was burned-out. Many electric motors of the 1930s and 1940s didn’t have protection circuits to shut the motor down if stalled or stuck. I later discovered a 15 amp fuse in the 6 amp fuse holder.

Motor with rear casing removed. Note the inner layer of windings which are charred.

Close-up view

Quotes to rewind the motor were in the neighborhood of $700.00. I was able to find a motor on E-bay which came out of a Wurlitzer 412 for $80, so we decided to give that one a try first.

Motor purchased on E-bay was poorly packaged and arrived with broken wires and styrofoam pieces inside of the motor.

I had to take apart the motor I purchased on E-bay to repair it.  I installed a fuse on the motor along with new wiring.  Hopefully the fuse will protect the motor in case the jukebox mechanism jams.

Motor ready to be placed back into jukebox.

The next item was to check the amplifier.  It was missing two 2A3 tubes, but fortunately they are still being made in Russia and China, and I was able to order a pair.  The capacitors in the amplifier needed to be replaced.

Dry electrolytic capacitors in a cardboard box.

Once the amp and the motor were reinstalled (and the correct fuses installed), the jukebox fired up and played a record.

Jukebox playing one of the records that was found in it. Note the original needle.

The needle and sound system was kept original and it sounded good.  Now the only thing it needs is a cabinet restoration, which I no longer do. But I know some cabinetry people who can do this.

Wurlitzer P10