Hawtins Juke boxes

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coppinpr
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Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by coppinpr »

I received this email today on my web site and I thought I'd post it here in case any of the information is previously unknown (it's not the clearest email I've ever received)
I was looking on your website for jukebox information and I came across a piece about the sale of Hawtin's Jukebox. Hawtin sold his MK2 jukebox to Godfrey Norman Ditchburn in 1954 or 1955, there were 30/40 jukeboxes, from this time everyone in the trade automatically assumed he produced the MK2 but he did not. When he bought the jukebox he only bought the rite to rent and convert the 10 that Hawtin sold in 1946/1947, there were three 16 player jukeboxes sold on the 16th December 1947 and we have never been able to trace them but the jukeboxes he produced were not cleared by the government and we assume he was told not to produce any more and that is why after the production of the 60 he produced Hawtin was trying to get rid of them abroad and sold 7 to new Zealand and that was in 1946 before Ditchburn started. I worked for the Ditchburn Organisation from 9th June 1963 to after he had sold out in July 1973 to Gainsmede, the best 10 years of my life. Arthur Phillips, head audio engineer Ditchburn
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wembleylion
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by wembleylion »

Here is a link to a 12 page story of Hatwin and Ditchburn. Some brilliant photos here.
https://www.ditchburn.co.uk/history-1946.htm
Last edited by wembleylion on Sat Mar 13, 2021 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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coppinpr
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by coppinpr »

Like I said, the email I received is not all that clear in what it says. It seems to me the guy (who clearly was a top man at Ditchburns) is saying they Ditchburn didn't make the MR2, although everyone thought they did. This varies greatly from the history on the link.
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dickywink
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by dickywink »

Yes, the history of Hawtins and Ditchburn was very muddled in the early years, mainly due to lack of records after the war, but last year the Ditchburn Project spent over £1500 to acquire the original accounts, finances and company details of the Ditchburn Organisation right from the very beginning right until it closed its doors in 1983. I'm going to publish most of these on the Ditchburn website later in the year.

I have not changed the history details on the Ditchburn website yet until I have finished my research, which I still have plenty to do, including (after Covid allows us to be back to normal) I have a meeting with Joy and Rosemary Ditchburn, the daughters of Geoffrey Ditchburn, and they have promised me lots of info on the early years.

So here are some facts that I can share:
1, Hawtins sold the manufacturing side of the MK2 Jukebox to Geoffrey Norman Ditchburn in 1947
2, The Jukeboxes were still produced at the Hawtins factory in Blackpool under the Ditchburn name until 1951
3, Frank Hawtin was a director and shareholder of Ditchburn until 1952.
4, The Hawtins MK1 and MK2 mechanism was practically the same and contains parts with Hawtins British casting numbers on them, so no USA Wurlitzer parts have ever been found on a Hawtins / Ditchburn jukebox. The story about Wurlitzer mechanisms being secretly imported was a ruse to cover up the fact that Hawtins had blatantly copied the castings and mechanism of a 1937 Wurlitzer 616 Jukebox that Wurlitzer had stopped producing 10 years earlier.

Regarding Arthur, yes, he does get muddled sometimes. Unfortunately, he did not join Ditchburn until 1963, working in the background music section of the factory, so all the stories he mentioned from 1947 are hearsay and rumours and has nothing to back them up. Also as I now have the company accounts, his timelines are completely wrong. Don't get me wrong, Arthur is a lovely chap, but as the author of a history website I can only deal in facts and not hearsay. One of the good things about the Ditchburn website is it has now brought me into contact with many other employees of Ditchburn and everyone has a slightly different spin on the history.

Wishing you all the best,

Dr Ditchburn :)
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coppinpr
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by coppinpr »

That's much clearer. So what he says about the actual building of the Mk2 is correct - it was made by Hawtins until 1951. Is that when the Mk2 ceased production, or did production switch to Ditchburn at that point?
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dickywink
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by dickywink »

Hi Coppinpr,
In 1947 Geoffrey Norman Ditchburn bought the whole jukebox business from Hawtins, as the Hawtin Brothers wanted to get out of the Amusement machine business (and into the Dental business).

When Frank Hawtin sold it to GND part of the agreement (according to the accounts documents) was Ditchburn could use the existing production workshop to manufacture the jukeboxes and in exchange Frank Hawtin would become a director of Ditchburn and receive advisory shares for a 5 year period (until 1952).

In 1952, Frank Hawtins' shares expired and he parted company with Ditchburn and GND moved the company and manufacturing to Dock Road in Lytham St Anne's. By this time Ditchburn had many 100s of Mk2s sited in coffee bars and milk bars all over the UK.

Now a lot of the "actual information" is in a speech by GND when he visited the USA in 1957 and spoke to the Music Operators of America convention. He states that in 1947 he bought the company from Hawtins as a prize speculation. He states when he bought the company Hawtins had shipped over 500 jukeboxes to occupied Germany to the American air force bases and then he states that then business doubled ?
I'm not sure if he is saying that they then made another 500 boxes or revenue increased x2

https://www.ditchburn.co.uk/history-1957.htm

The bit that is missing that I'm still trying to find out is what happened to the 500 boxes in Germany. I believe (this is not fact yet, but hoping the Ditchburn Daughters will help me here) that when the US troops returned to the USA from Germany and the bases were closed, he brought the boxes back to the UK and also sited them in bars and coffee shops, and, yes, in the speech he states that he manufactured the boxes and also improved the design. This is definitely true, as the BTH valve amplifier in my MK2 has a Ditchburn serial number plate that states Ditchburn, Blackpool-Liverpool-London... No mention of Lytham, so definitely made by Ditchburn pre 1952.

Just to show you I'm not making any of this up, here is the Directors of 1947:

All the best, Dr Ditchburn.
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ditch2.jpg
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coppinpr
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by coppinpr »

All interesting info and I'm sure everyone knows you only deal in the facts and wouldn't make anything up. :cool:
If it's of any help, I doubt very much indeed that the German jukeboxes came back to the UK. I did a fair bit of research when making the jukebox section of my website and Germany was a massive jukebox market, second only to the USA, and most of that market was civilian. From 1945 to 1965 there was always a waiting list for jukeboxes in Germany (one of the reasons why so many German companies started making jukes). Also, very few US bases closed until the 1980s. Only the occupying forces bases were closed and for every one that closed a new army (or, more importantly, airforce) base opened, so my guess is the jukeboxes never sat idle in Germany.
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dickywink
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Re: Hawtins Juke boxes

Post by dickywink »

Yes, I'm totally unsure what happened to the Mk2s that ended up in Germany...
The only reason I believe they may have come back is that I understand that they were never actually sold. They were sited on a rental basis, and Norman Ditchburn would not sell machines when removed from site, as they could be used by competition, and also I regularly check the German jukebox sales and no Ditchburns ever come up for sale in Germany. My serial number database has none from Germany either... I guess the only people that may be able to help with that info are the Ditchburn Daughters. Hopefully, later this year, we can have our meeting.

Thanks for your input coppinpr and also for your great website.

Dr Ditchburn
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