‘The Shyvers Multiphone Story’ conversation

March 10, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society is excited to announce that it is hosting John Bennett and Clay Eals in conversation for a live Zoom presentation on Thursday, March 10 at 6:00 PM.

John Bennett, author of “The Shyvers Multiphone Story” and a longtime sponsor and board member of the historical society, will be interviewed by Clay Eals, a founding member and former executive director of the historical society. Registration is required. Register here.

Bennett’s 152-page, large-format book, illustrated with hundreds of photos and news and magazine clippings, recounts the fascinating history of a little-known precursor to the jukebox. First called the Shyvers Music Phone and later the Shyvers Multiphone, this Seattle-based invention was placed in restaurants and bars. It allowed a patron to drop a nickel into a slot and select a song to be heard on a speaker as transmitted by phone lines from a 78rpm record that was played by a “hostess” at a centralized, remote location.

The Shyvers Music Phones and Multiphones were popular in the 1940s and 1950s, and they were showcased in the 1949 Doris Day film “My Dream Is Yours.” Their demise followed a music-industry transition to 45rpm records and high-quality jukeboxes. Today, Shyvers Music Phones and Mulitphones are treasured collectibles. Bennett, who operated a jukebox repair and sale business called Jukebox City in Seattle in the 1980s, parlayed his interest in coin-operated music devices and passion for historic preservation into publishing this handsome and evocative book, released in fall 2021. Providing key editing and design assistance was John’s sister, Jane Bennett. The book is for sale via eBay.

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