Photo Ref: DB069
1946 The Hawtin’s Novelty Company 
During the 2nd world war, engineering companies in the UK had been making munitions and military equipment, one of the many companies that did this was the Hawtin’s Novelty Company in Blackpool, In the war years the factory was turned over to the production of aircraft parts for the war effort, the enterprise was owned by brothers Frank and Percy Hawtin, Frank had started the company in 1922 making wall machines for seaside amusement arcades and also larger floor standing machines in later years, Frank had started the business from a small premises at 17 Livingstone Road in Blackpool, Between 1922 and 1947 the company grew from the small workshop to a modern three and a half acre factory at Marton, Blackpool, employing hundreds of skilled engineers. Jack Hylton did not have any manufacturing or engineering experience, so he turned to Hawtin’s to assist him in producing his British built Juke- Box. Hawtin’s experience in the amusement industry and the manufacturing knowledge obtained from making high quality military parts was important in producing a reliable and stylish machine, Unfortunately due to the rationing of many materials at this time it was practically impossible to make a Juke box with the few materials that were currently available. Fortunately Jack Hylton’s contacts in the U.S. air-force could help them get around that.
You can read more about Frank Hawtin on the people page
Frank Hawtin
Hawtin’s Novelty Co. at the Preston New Road factory in Blackpool in 1946. note: the top right photo showing the “Jack Hylton Music Maker” Jukebox Production
Photo Ref: DB070 Courtesy of Freddy Bailey
J ack Hylton’s connections with the US air-force were able to bypass the UK government restrictions on importing non-essential items, and parts for Juke-boxes would have definitely been classed as non-essential, although we are sure that circumventing UK government regulations was not exactly legal at the time, most of these machines when completed would be sited on American Air-Force bases to entertain the US troops, so it was in their best interest to make sure this all went without a hitch. The 78RPM Wurlitzer Simplex mechanisms were shipped in wooden crates from the USA, these were transported on American supplies aircraft directly to the American air-force bases and then shipped to the Hawtin’s factory under strict US military supervision, the crates were rumored to be marked up as “Essential American Supplies”. the crates were also an important part of the delivery as they were made from quality American oak, and these packing crates were then dissembled by experienced joiners and then hand crafted into the polished wooden cabinet of the Juke-box.
Photo Ref: DB071 Courtesy of Freddy Bailey
Photo Ref: DB086 Courtesy of Ronnie Garside
I t was around the end of 1946 that the sales of the new Juke Box were not what as expected and the cost to manufacture were very high, The wooden cabinet of the Mk1 was criticised by the public as being something from the 1930s and not in keeping with the modern times, so they decided to use a respected artist to design a new futuristic cabinet, that had a sleeker modern styling (The MK2)
Photo Ref: DB091 Courtesy of
After the Sale, Frank and his Brother Percy moved onto bigger and better things, their first business venture was into “False Teeth”, something that had been greatly missed by many people during the war, in 1949 the Blackpool factory at Marton was fully utilized with their company, Anglo-American Dental Corporation, maker of acrylic teeth, they both became millionaires, by 1968 they had formed Hawtin Industries and had a large portfolio of companies, also 1968 Frank Hawtin was chairman of Dental Manufacturing Co. again in 1968 they acquired Park Brothers of Blackburn, an auto electrical company, by 1969 the main activities of Hawtin’s were manufacturing agricultural machinery, and automotive products, they also owned Cheswick and Wright a car silencer company, and then they acquired Metropole Enterprises who’s main divisions were engineering, building and construction, they also acquired Cussins (Contractors), a house building company, and general contractors, then a partial takeover of Rawlings Brothers, a building and electrical contractor. they also acquired a majority interest in Joylock Ltd, a property developer of South Wales. and by 1970 they were merchant bankers offering financial services. A long way from the days of making amusement machines in a small workshop at 17 Livingstone Road.
Photo Ref: DB009 Courtesy of
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Photo Ref: DB168 Courtesy of Tony Holmes
Percy Hawtin
Photo Ref: DB410
It was around mid 1946 that there was a big fall out with Jack Hylton and the Hawtin’s brothers, it seems they parted company and the Hawtin’s brothers were left holding the baby, Hawtin’s stopped producing the MK1 Jukebox and removed Hylton’s name from the MK2 and any advertising literature. It was at this point that the Hawtin’s brothers did not think that Jukeboxes were the next big thing ( how wrong they were ) Frank Hawtin had set his sights on bigger and better things, he decided to get out of the amusement machine business all together to concentrate on building a bigger engineering empire, It was at this point that the Hawtin’s brothers met with Geoffrey Norman Ditchburn and deal was struck to sell the Jukebox business. Ditchburn took over the premises at Marton Road Blackpool later that year The Jukebox manufacturing and tooling for the MK2 Jukebox was sold to Ditchburn, and the rest was to be auctioned off on in a large sale on December the 16th 1947. in the auction advertisement below it shows that it included three 16 player Jukeboxes, it is very likely that these were the Mk1 Jack Hylton Models.