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History - Factory
AMI History

Company History

AMI began in 1909 as the National Automatic Music Company, making automatic player pianos. Having designed a mechanism which allowed music rolls to be selected, this was adapted for use in jukeboxes, the first of which was produced in 1927. The mechanism used was the first that could play both sides of 10 records, allowing 20 selections. Aside from modifications to extend the number of selections, this mechanism was used for the next 30 years. The company was renamed to the Automatic Musical Instrument Company (AMI) after World War II. During the 1950s, licensed manufacturing agreements created BAL-AMI (England), IMA-AMI - Jensen (Denmark) and EDEN-AMI (France).The Automatic Canteen Company bought AMI in 1962, merging it with its subsidiary ROWE AC Services, a manufacturer of coin operated vending machines. Presently AMI Entertainment is still producing jukeboxes. Rowe International still exists as a manufacturer of bill changers.

Book about Facilities of AMI Incorporated in 1949 (Digital book copy courtesy of Mark)

Interview with John W. Haddock, AMI President 1946-1959 "The AMI Story" (Digital copy courtesy of the author: Michael Zuccaro)

Notable Jukeboxes

         'Top Flight' - manufactured in 1936 and 1937 is a classic example of Art Deco styling. Its sleek, modern lines are supplemented by gaudy embellishments. This jukebox used the original mechanism, allowing a selection of twenty 78 rpm's.

         'Singing Towers' - manufactured between 1939 and 1942. The design of molded glass, stone effect finish and a top light was influenced by New York skyscrapers. The 'Singing Towers' included a new mechanism which changed the colors of the lights as music played. Unfortunately this design was never a commercial success due to mechanical problems.

         Model A - manufactured in 1946. Known as 'The Mother of Plastic'. This large, brightly colourful jukebox, was decorated with opalescent plastics and coloured glass gemstones. The Model A was a great success in the growing post-war jukebox market.

         Model H - manufactured in 1957. Featured a new selection mechanism, and used 'automobile styling' with wrap around clear glass and chrome front bumpers.

         Continental - manufactured between 1961 and 1962 featured flamboyant 'sci-fi' influenced design, with domed glass tops and curved selection holders.

AMI Factory

AMI Factory Location: 1500 Union Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI
Status: Demolished (February 2012)

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