The Music Maker Story: Freddy Bailey


Jack Hylton and the first British jukebox

The attached article (above) has never been published, for many years jukebox collectors have wondered and in fact fictionalised  how the first jukeboxes made in Britain came to be.
In my gathering of the facts I found various articles about Jack Hylton the British band leader and impressario. I believe he got the idea to produce a jukebox while having a drink with a U. S. Colonel during an appearance with his band at a concert for the U. S. troops in Holland . If you read the clippings from the Jack Hylton museum, I am sure you will come to the same conclusion.
Regarding The Ditchburn Organisation, it is my understanding that when Norman Ditchburn bought  the Music Maker Ltd company from the Jack Hylton group, he then negotiated with Hawtin’s to buy the  tooling and moved it to his factory in  Lytham-St-Annes. His main interest was the contract with the U. S. Army to supply jukeboxes and also to secure his supply of mechanisms from Wurlitzer.
Freddy Bailey, Industry Historian

Comments (10)

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Thank you, Freddy for another interesting and informative piece on Hawtins and Ditchburn. I always thought that Ditchburn was the Seeburg agent, not Wurlitzer(?). Certainly Gainsmead and then MAM Inn Play had the Seeburg line. Wasn’t Gaines-Cooper the MD of Gainsmead before he sold out and went to South Africa?

Derek Horwood
15/11/2011, 21:38

Guys you are both right. Norman did have the Wurlizer connection, he became the Seeburg distributor in 1954 or 55, as I recall. It was the launch of the famed model 222 which was the first stereo juke box with the famous channel 1 and Chanell 2 fron glasses,

Michael Green
16/11/2011, 12:54

May I venture a correction to your piece in the edition just received.

Hawtin’s juke box was not the first in the UK, but was the first to be manufactured in the UK, and was the first to be commercially successful. There had been juke boxes in the UK for many years before WW2, the most popular being the Wurlitzer models, so popular were they that the pre- war customers were calling any juke box Wurlitzer, such as the Seeburg Wurlitzer or the Rock-Ola Wurlitzer, to denote Seeburg or Rock Ola juke boxes, like people today call all vacuum cleaners Hoovers even if they are not made by the Hoover Company.

Derek Horwood
23/11/2011, 10:02

What I said was that Hawtins made the first British manufactured jukebox in the U.K.

The original company Music Maker Ltd owned by a group of investers headed by Jack Hilton the well known Bandleader, commissioned Hawtins to manufacture 500 machines, these were to go to the U.S. Military, in fact without the helpand efforts of the U.S. military it would have been impossible to produce them.

At the time World War II had just ended and England was being rationed for everything from eggs to luxury goods, it was the U.S. State Department that convinced the British Board of Trade that these jukeboxes were important to the moral of the U.S. troops of occupation.

It was the U.S. Military transport planes that carried the Wurlitzer Symplex mechanism’s to their U.K. military bases, and then transported them to Hawtins factory in Blackpool, officials of the U.S. State Department even supervised the manufacture of these jukeboxes in the Hawtins factory, while the U.S. State Department helped in every way they could to secure the raw materials, Hawtins had to make the first 500 jukeboxe cabinets from the packing cases that the Wurlitzer mechanisms were packed in. That is why the Music Maker MK II was made from fibreglass and called the Fridge.

You are right when you say these were not the first jukeboxes coming into the U.K. your late Father Ralph Horwitz was advertising “for sale” used Wurlitzer jukeboxes in the World’s Fair trade paper in the mid 1930′s.

it is interesting that like you say prior to World War II operaters were calling all jukeboxes be it a Seeburg, Rock-Ola or any other make, they refered to them all as Wurlitzers.

In South America to this day they still call all jukeboxes Rock-Ola,during the late 1950′s Victor Haim of Belam sold more used Rock-Ola’s in South America than every other coin machine jobber put together.

Like Michael say’s we should keep our coin machine history alive.

Freddy Bailey

Freddy Bailey
26/11/2011, 21:05

Hi Freddy -

I’m the grand nephew of Doc Stacher of Runyon Sales fame [as well as Murder Inc.] and I saw a post of yours in which you said you had some pic’s of Doc from the runyon days.

Would you be able to email me some copies?
Thanks and best,
Barney Stacher

Barney Stacher
United States
27/03/2012, 00:41

Hi Barney,
I will send you some information about your great uncle if you send me your e-mail address, Your uncle was also close to my friend Myron Sugerman, who’s father was Barney Sugerman, perhaps you were named after him he ran Runyon Sales with his partner Abe Green. I also have a copy of uncle’s entry into the United States permit, on is return from Israel.

Freddy Bailey.

Freddy Bailey
24/04/2012, 23:23

Barney – please contact me. I would be interested in your information about Runyon.
My grandfather was a friend of your great uncle.

Jaclyn Civins
18/05/2012, 21:47

Hi Jaclyn,
I have all of the pictures that were on the wall in Runyon Sales Company and on the walls of Myron Sugerman’s home. Was your grandfather in the business, I have some great stories about Doc Stacher, especially from the Runyon day’s, it is a strong rumor that it was Doc Stacher on instructions from Longy Zwilman that he ordered the hit on Dutch Schultze.

Freddy Bailey
30/05/2012, 08:50

Freddy, Jaclyn, etc. Sorry I lost this thread… but here I am!

Any stories/images of Doc that you are able to share would be great.

Barney Stacher
27/07/2015, 16:14

hello freddy i worked for dtchburn from 1966/1972 until it was taken over by national vendors , my father joined ditchburn in 1952 on the music division and i helped helped him deliver and instal many music makers allover scotland. i remember during the suez crisis a delivery of lambretta scooters arrived so the engineers couid still go to the customers to ghange the records and collect the sixpence coins.with the introduction of the telematic 200curved juke box with the coloured lighting and styling and the ami and wurlitzer the old models were replaced,and sadly i helped to scrap around 25 music makers which at that time ha no value? if only we knew what they woul fetch today.dithburn set up a new vending division across the road from the the juke box factory in dock road liytham st annes these were the good oid days cheers clive

clive mark
24/01/2017, 19:27

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