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Rock-Ola 468 : The Drifters : Like Sister and Brother

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Published on Jul 10, 2010

This video shows the operation of a vintage jukebox. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.


This is my "Grand Salon" Rock-Ola 468, a drastic change from the chrome and bright metal jukeboxes of the "Silver Age."
Though since I made this video, this and all my Motown and R&B records are now in the older Rock-Ola 443 next to it.

These were designed for the "posh bars and hotel lounge trade." Marketed under the banner "The Age of Elegance."

The illuminated graphic is a copy of the impressionist painting "Sous les peupliers, effet de soleil" by Claude Monet, bet he never imagined his work would eventually be used to draw attention to a jukebox.


Not anywhere near one of their most produced machines, but Rock-Ola still made over 3,000 of them, so parts aren't a problem.

It shares the same basic reliable mechanism and similar transistor amplifiers, as many other cosmetically different Rock-Ola models, from the early sixties to the late seventies, between those with valve amplifiers and those with computer systems which no longer used the "wobble plate" pin bank selection system.

Jukeboxes are one of the earliest examples of "plug and play" electronics.
All the major components are connected by multi-pronged pins and protected by a large number of different fuses.
The various components could be changed quickly "on the job" and the faulty item returned to be worked on at a repair shop.
They were manufactured for the busines of "moneymaking" and designed and robustly built for continuous play. "Visible mechanisms" were withdrawn to allow the dome glass to display the ever increasing number of selection options.
After all, everyone had a record player and actually seeing the record spinning was hardly a novelty in those days.

This therefore is not currently a popular model among enthusiasts because of it's size, being 4' wide, but there are still many in use in as good condition as this one.

There was a slight "wow" in this recording as I'd set the "dinker" I used to make the hole a little too big and it depends how centrally the gripper arm dropped it on the turntable. This machine takes records with the large centre hole as in the USA. 50/60s UK produced records had optional "push out centres" secured at three or four points, to fit this sort of turntable, but later records had solid centres which have to be cut out.
I've since made the hole smaller with bits of tape. I wouldn't want anyone to think this machine wasn't nigh perfect.

It sits next to my equally well preserved Rock-Ola 443 (an earlier and much more popular model) in our summer house at the bottom of the garden.
A compromise with my wife, my saxophones and leccy piano live in our front room!
I've had this one about two years, I removed about 20 years of nicotine from the surfaces, replaced the tubes and the Monet graphic which had faded to mostly "blue" (as they do). I was able to obtain a "new old stock" replacement.
I also replaced the turntable motor pillar support rubber grommets, as these had hardened over time and were causing a slight vibration undetectible to the ear, but picked up by the sensitive Shure cartridge and converted to a slight background noise on some records. This is a common fault with many jukeboxes. I also gave it a good mechanical service. But it had been reasonably well cared for, having been in private hands for decades.

I usually only play these machines when I'm gardening.

As this wooden building is unheated, I keep a 60watt inspection lamp in the bottom of each jukebox and a box of water absorbent crystals. These lamps are usually on a timer and come on during the night, but during the winter I keep them on all the time. They provide enough heat to prevent any accumulation of damp and thickening of the lubricants due to the cold.
Cold jukeboxes of this age otherwise tend to run slightly slower until they warm up.
I also play two or three records every few of days, working through the titles selecting both "A & B" sides, it's the best sort of "preventative maintenance."

I hope you enjoy my choice of records in these jukeboxes, there's plenty of classics from which to choose, from 50s/60s US pop, Motown, in this one and Doo-wop, 70s/80s pop and classic standards in the 443.
Many of the records are "mint" copies of the originals from the "Collectables" series.

Nothing of course, beyond the age of vinyl, "when music mostly died" for some of us.

Recorded on my little Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ7 digital camera.

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