History of the Band Boxes

Chicago Coin’s Band Box, 1950 to 1952, deposit a coin in the jukebox and the curtains will open and watch the animated manikin musicians play a tune by “The World’s Smallest Band”. The Chicago Coin’s Band Box was used with a jukebox. When the Jukebox played a record, the drapes would open and then close after the record was finished. Chicago Coin’s marketed it as a speaker that looks like an Orchestra – “The World’s Smallest Band”, “Strike Up The Band”, and “Hit Tune Of The Week”

In 1985 Brad Frank owner of Brad Frank Restorations took control of the Chicago Coin Trademark after the court ordered bankruptcy. He continued manufacturing replacement parts for some of the over 600 arcade machines manufactured under the Chicago Coin Trademark brand. The love of the Band Box was and has been a large part of this business even after almost 30 years.

The Chicago Coin’s Band Box Co. still manufactures these Band Boxes new in Standard puppets and Cowboys. Coin operated and non coin type floor stands are available for both new and older machines. We also make licensed replacement parts for the older machines. The Chicago Coin’s Band Box Co. is a division of Brad Frank Restorations Chatsworth, Ca.

It is widely believed among knowledgeable collectors that there were five factory versions made or after market replacement puppets which included Male Puppets in green, blue and very rare white sport coats, Cowboys, and Female Dolls. Some operators added a singer behind the NBC microphone but this was not original.

The Band Box is really a remote wall mounted speaker for a jukebox. There was an optional 10 Cent coin operated floor stand so the band box would not have to be mounted on the wall. The Chicago Coin’s Band Box is a small stage with a curved front. It is 45 ¾” wide X 28 ¾” tall X 24” deep. The attached jukebox closes a switch which causes the band box  lights to go on and the curtains to open, revealing a seven piece band with their instruments. They move as if they are playing the music. The figures were made of sponge rubber which decays over time.

Chicago Coin, Chicago Coin’s, Band Box, Strike Up The Band, and The Worlds Smallest Band are Registered Trade Marks in use and solely owned by Brad Frank and Brad Frank Restorations, Inc.

To see working Band Boxes around the United States, download our list of locations.