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Memorable Manitobans: David Cullen Rockola (1897-1993)

Jukebox manufacturer.

Born at Virden, Manitoba on 23 January 1897, son of George A. Rockola and Sarah Sanderson, he first saw a coin-operated machine while running a cigar store in Chicago, in 1919. Seven years later he started the Rock-Ola Manufacturing Company to building weighing machines. He later added pinball machines (1933) and his first jukebox, in 1935, which became the mainstay of his business, peaking in the 1940s and ‘50s. The advent of personal music media such as records and tapes led to the demise of the jukebox. He died at Skokie, Illinois on 26 January 1993.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Jukebox king born in Virden”, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 1993, page B2.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 November 2009

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