Rock-Ola Manufacturing Co.

800 N Kedzie Ave.

When Canadian immigrant David C. Rockola developed a new kind of record playing machine in Chicago, he probably did not see how his invention would play a key role in American popular music—and how even his name would signify that musical revolution. Setting up shop in 1927, his Rockola Scale Company began manufacturing slot machines and novelty games. He started making jukeboxes, which he trademarked under the Rock-Ola name, eight years later. His first one, the Mult-Selector, contained 12 song selections but it also allowed users to program multiple records at once. By 1940, the company started creating its illuminated models that have become recognized as the classic jukebox design and after World War II, the machines could hold between 120 to 200 songs. During the 1950s, as these machines started spreading emerging rock ’n’ roll into diners, bars and restaurants across America, the music and the Rock-Ola jukebox name became interlinked. At its peak, the company produced 25,000 machines per year. Rock-Ola moved to suburban Addison in 1985 and the business was sold in 1992 and moved its base to California.


– A.C. 


Caption: Former location of Rock-Ola Manufacturing Co. 


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