Wow! What a find and what a fun project this is going to be. Yesterday, I uncovered this treasure a Wurlitzer console stereo at the local Salvation Army circa 1960’s. It was 1/2 price day there, so I was able to pick this beauty up for only $32.00!! We got it home and I plugged it in, hoping that I wasn’t going to be electrocuted or that my garage wouldn’t catch on fire and sure enough, she powered on! (no burning or cracking to speak of) The next test was would it actually work. And the answer is Yes! Well, she does need some work, the controls are dirty so any balance or volume adjustment you make creates tons of static. I was able to plug my iPhone into the tape port in the back and it does work. A speaker might be blown, but this could just be that the controls are dirty. The turntable works, but it needs a new needle. So much for just running down to Radio Shack for a turntable needle, I’ll have to hunt one down.
The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company was an American company started in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853 and was referred to as Wurlitzer. Rudolph Wurlitzer, a German immigrant helped the company import woodwind, brass and string instruments from Germany and resold them here in the U.S. In the 1880’s, Wurlitzer started to produce pianos also started making nickelodeons, pipe organs and theatre organs which were very popular at the silent movies at that time. They then moved on in creating electric pianos, organs and jukeboxes. If that wasn’t enough, they continued on to produce player piano rolls, carnival rides, kitchen appliances and radios. In 1973, things began to change for Wurlitzer. Their jukebox operation was moved to Germany in 1973. The piano manufacturing was moved overseas (after being purchased by Baldwin Piano Company) in 1988 and in 1996 any remaining Wurlitzer assets were acquired by Gibson Guitar Corporation.
My plans are to bring this baby back to life. I’m cleaning it up and doing some maintenance to see if I can get the controls back on track. I’ll fill some dings and polish her up. Oh yeah, and add bluetooth. ‘Cause everything is better with bluetooth!
Stay tuned with the journey of the new Wurlitzer!