If you’re a frequent visitor to our website, you may well already know that 2019 has been a pretty big year for us here at Rock-Ola. With our new owner Alexander Walder-Smith at the helm, we’ve recently released a high-tech update of our classic Bubbler design.
We’re pleased to say that we are releasing a premium version of the 45 bubbler! Allow us to present: The National Jukebox Exchange Signature Edition by John Papa, manufactured by Rock-Ola.
We’ve produced the Bubbler Vinyl 45 with no small amount of help from the venerable John Papa, a man with such an outstanding reputation in jukeboxes and amusements, he almost needs no introduction (but we’ll give you a brief one anyway). As the owner of the National Jukebox Exchange in Mayfield, New York, John has over 40 years of restoring jukeboxes, penny arcade games and vintage amusements, along with his long-standing relationship with Rock-Ola, Glenn Streeter and Alexander Walder-Smith which makes him the perfect partner for Rock-Ola’s newest venture.
At its heart, the Rock-Ola Authentic Bubbler Vinyl 45 is exactly what it sounds like: a luxury 45rpm vinyl jukebox. Sharing its distinctive silhouette with the blueprint for modern jukeboxes, the legendary Wurlitzer 1015, it blends its iconic 50s styling with over half a century’s worth of advancement in music technology – so you can have the best of both worlds! It plays 200 selections and features Bluetooth connectivity. The sound is run through a tube pre-amplifier, which is enhanced by a sophisticated 700-watt amplifier. For ultimate sound performance, the limited edition uses the XP3 cartridge by Audio-Technica who has been devoted to music for over 50 years.
Take a closer look at its exterior, and you’ll be able to admire the craftsmanship of its hand-built cabinet, the veneer hand-picked right here California, and of course, the authentic coin mechanism. With a rich, smooth sound, and its trademark captivating appearance, this is an American jukebox through and through.
The true magic that makes a jukebox...
All in all, the Bubbler Vinyl 45 is a true labor of love from its visionaries, John and Alexander. Alexander himself has grown up around these machines, having inherited his love of jukeboxes and vintage games from his father, Reginald Waldersmith. Today, along with his talented team, he’s been responsible for outfitting some of the most incredible games rooms you’ll see throughout both the UK and the US.
As we touched on above, John Papa has over four decades of experience in restoring these machines, and you may have seen him (and his own hand-picked team of craftsmen) in various museums, TV shows, and even movies. His company, the National Jukebox Exchange, has long been an official supplier to Rock-Ola.
If you’re already even passingly familiar with John or his work, you may already know that one of the things that makes him so valuable to our industry is not just his technical skills (although those are formidable enough alone), but the sheer depth of his passion for these machines. In other words, he intrinsically understands what makes them so special to people – history. The love that’s gone into them, and the decades of culture, joy, and dancing that they represent. A jukebox that has been pitted and scarred by the ages can be just as valuable – if not more so – than one that’s brand new, in mint condition.
It’s a lesson Alexander also learned early on in his own career, and together, they both hope that each of their brand-new Authentic Bubbler Vinyl 45s will ultimately share the fate of some of the world’s most valuable jukeboxes – to be owned, loved and listened to for decades, to create their own stories, and in the end, carve out their own unique places in the annals of music history.
The Authentic Bubbler Vinyl 45 and the Signature Edition by John Papa are now available to buy – you can find them or sale right here on our website as well as other iconic Bubblers in our expansive range. We’re already taking pre-orders, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!
We love this photo of John and Alexander from the summertime in California!