Edwin K. Jensen, 1906-1974

Edwin Karl Jensen was born in Aarhus, Jutland, on the 13th March, 1906. In 1925 he graduated from high school (mathematics) in Aarhus, and in 1932 he finally graduated as an engineer (electronics) from the Technical University of Denmark (Danmarks Tekniske Højskole) in Copenhagen. In the years 1932-1934 he worked as a sound film consultant at the Rialto theatre in Copenhagen and decided to settle in the capital, and the following years he worked for the company Torotor (1934-1938) and the company American Apparate Co. (1938-1940) before he managed to establish his own company, A/S Jensen Motor Co., mainly producing electric cars during the early years, 1940-1943, of World War II. However, it was necessary for the company and Edwin Karl Jensen to co-operate with the German army to get supplies, and for that he received a sentence at the end of the war for collaboration with the occupying forces. After a few years, in 1947, Edwin Karl Jensen became works engineer in the company A/S Jensen & Hoffmann officially owned by his father-in-law (second marriage). In the late forties the company produced and exported among other things also very durable gramophone needles.

During those years, before 1949, he had again established good relations with the friends he had before the war, among others the noted engineer Jørgen Mølkier. Together they initiated a limited production of 20-selection automatic phonographs (jukeboxes) in the company A/S Jensen & Hoffmann, but Edwin Karl Jensen realized from the beginning that it was necessary to produce large numbers to make it worthwhile to have that kind of production in Denmark. In 1954 the company name changed to Jensen Music Automates A/S (licensed by AMI Inc. in the States), and it soon became the largest and most important jukebox producing company in Europe (around 1955-56) with export of machines with the brand name Jensen IMA/AMI Music Box to more than thirty countries. In 1958 the company finally stopped producing jukeboxes due to serious competition mainly from German manufacturers but also from importers of new, well designed Silver Age machines from the States. Thus, the company specialized in mass-production of television sets, and its name changed to Jensen Music & Television A/S. The company became the first in fact to introduce 23" bonded-shield kinescopes on the Danish market.

Edwin Karl Jensen was the managing director and also the chairman of the board of the following companies related to the jukebox industry: Jensen Music Automates A/S (1954-1958), Jensen Music & Television A/S (1958-1963), and also of the company Dansk Grammofon Automat A/S (1954-1960), a company that operated Jensen (IMA/AMI) as well as American AMI jukeboxes on the domestic market. Edwin Karl Jensen was also as founding member the chairman of the Danish organisation of manufacturers and operators, Foreningen af Fabrikanter og Opstillere af Musikautomater i Danmark. After 1963, when the formerly jukebox producing company had collapsed due to heavy losses on the domestic market, Edwin Karl Jensen established his own consulting engineering company named Jensen Electronic Engineering, and the following decade he worked intensely with the development of new carburators for the car industry. He was granted world-wide patents for some of his most significant inventions (the last of the patents was granted in 1973). Edwin Karl Jensen died on the 23rd September, 1974, only 68 years of age, and was buried in the communal grave Birkelunden (Frederiksberg) in Copenhagen.

Gert J. Almind