Central Baptist Church

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Newspaper Clips from 1953

What — a Juke Box in the Chapel?!?

Central Baptist Church, Hartford
Central Baptist Church, according to one of its younger members, is “at last on the ball.” This enthusiastic acclaim came when the youngster spotted the new automatic record selector affixed to the rear wall of the church chapel. The selector is like those found on soda fountain counters or in a refreshment booth – with two exceptions. In the church the player needs no coin to play music and the music, instead of the latest jive tunes, is well-known and loved sacred music performed by the best musicians.

The device is probably the first of its kind adapted to this particular purpose. The Rev. Kenneth L. Maxwell one of Central’s four ministers, said they canvassed every company likely to make such a device and found there wasn’t one on the market. As a last resort they appealed to the operators of the juke box concession, and they agreed to sell the church an automatic 20 record player and install the push-button selector.

Now passersby may come into the chapel any hour of the day for meditation and prayer and provide themselves with beautiful soothing music the while. For the convenience of small wedding parties the two wedding marches by Mendelssohn and Lohengrin are included among the 20 available records.

The Bells Toll – But How?

Whenever the church bells chime there are many to wonder why. But do many ever wonder how they ring? Central Baptist installed some carillonic bells that have titillated the curiosity of many within its one to three mile radius of sound. The chimes are played four times a day: 12 noon and 1 o’clock and at 4:30 and 5:45 p.m. times when the most people are on the streets. Sunday the chimes are used to call church members to worship.

For someone who has always visualized the music as coming from men who climb ladders into the tower of the church and toll a number of bells to produce the music, it was a revelation to find that Central Baptist’s Church’s music emanates from a record player in a small room in the back of the church sanctuary. The record player is a compact instrument that has a time device that turns the record player on and off at the proper times. The record player itself is much like any other automatic record changer.

Besides the record player there is also a striking bell that causes one bell to toll and will be used, probably, to indicate the beginning of a service.

Pat Dec Central Baptist Church, Hartford September 2013