Music Box – Jingles

The “Jingles” Box

One of the first questions most of the British people ask us when they hear about the ICV is “Do you have the jingles working?” – What we in the USA call the “music box”.

Well, our ICV didn’t come with a jingles machine – I originally didn’t think this was a big deal – I figured I’d get on Ebay and just pick one up – well, it turns out that the damn things are like “gold dust”. We looked for quite a while to find one that was the right vintage and was true to the English tunes and so forth – the 1971 technology was not too advanced (as you might imagine) – usually a pretty worn out cassette tape that looped. These machines were incredibly expensive.

So, we went to plan “B” – find the tunes in MP3 format, download them to our iPod and play them over the loudspeaker – searching and searching on Google yielded exactly ZERO tunes for ice cream trucks. Lots of music by bands called “Ice Cream Heads” or “Ice Creamers” or whatever – but no music box type tunes.

So, we went to plan “C” – buy one in the states. Turned out that was easier said than done. There are a few different brands here and there – but very hard to find. One day, John found one of the “real deal” Nichols Electronics music boxes on Ebay. I looked it over and it was pretty beat up – the knobs were busted off but the guy claimed it worked – and you could adjust the volume with a needle nosed pliers – so, I setup my Auction Sniper to stuff a bid in at the last second – and after spending about $93 on the thing (including shipping) – it arrived – with a loudspeaker!!

Here is what it looked like when it came:


The box itself is about 4 inches wide by 2 inches high – you can see that it has 16 tunes with 2 channels – total of 32 tunes inside of it. Of course both the volume AND the tune knobs are broken off – I emailed the seller and said “how did you change the tune?” – he replied and said “I took it apart but you only need one tune and the one it was set to is the perfect one for ice cream trucks”.

So, of course I took it apart to see what was inside –


Just a little solid state circuit board, with one 28 pin chip on it – and a little audio amplifier. Pretty low tech in comparison to an MP3 player.

I spent a few hours taking it apart, drilling out the existing switches/volume knobs, then fabricated some little knob/handles from #10 copper wire. Put the new handles into the drilled holes with some JB Weld epoxy – and presto! the thing works like a champ – here are a couple shots – We’re ready to mount that baby and make some noise –  wanna hear a “jingle”? – click here


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