A Brief History of the Slot Machine
Legal Slots has stated that the term by which these games are known was first used to describe all automatic vending machines, as well as gambling devices in general. It was not actually until the 20th century that this term started being restricted to the games, as we know them today. The terms fruit machine and one-armed bandit are also popular for these games, but nowhere near as universally known as the phrase slots machines is.
We Have Charles Fey and His Liberty Bell to Thank
The first mechanised slots machine was called the Liberty Bell, and Charles Fey, a car mechanic, invented in 1895.
The Liberty bell had three reels that spun, and three icons for players to try to line up: a diamond, a heart, a spade, and the symbol for which the game was named. These images were each painted once on each of the game’s reels, and a spin that lined up three of the cracked Liberty Bell was able to provide the largest payout –a grand total of 50 cents!
Fey’s Numerous Other Inventions
The very first slot machine can still be seen at the Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant, situated in Reno, in Nevada. When you are waiting for your results from online betting sites, you could also investigate Fey’s other inventions, namely the Draw Power, Three Spindle, and Klondike machines.
Fey also invented the very first Draw Poker machine, as well as what is known as the Trade Check Separator. The latter, in fact, was used in the Liberty Bell, and was a trade check replete with a hole in the middle, which allowed for a detecting pin to differentiate false nickels, or slugs, from real ones. Fey made a good living renting these machines out to bars and saloons, basing the rental amount on a profit share of 50/50.
The Demand for Slots Games Grows
Demand for the Liberty Bell slot machine was huge right from the start, and Fey struggled to keep up with the orders streaming in to his tiny store. Gambling equipment manufactures made a number of attempts to purchase the rights for both manufacturing and distribution from Fey, but he cleverly refused to sell. In response, Herbert Mills, a manufacturer of arcade machines from Chicago, started producing a knock-off the Liberty Bell game, and released Operator Bell in 1907. Mills was the first to introduce the now famous fruit symbols on the game, and players started lining up lemons, cherries and plums on his version.
The Age of Electronics Commences
The first well-liked electric gambling machine was named Paces Races, and it was an animated horse-race machine that became available for play in 1934. 30 years later, in 1964, the first totally electronic gambling game was built, named 21 and manufactured by Nevada Electronic. After this the floodgates opened, and a number of different electronic versions of various gambling games started becoming available. Options for Roulette, Poker, Dice, and Horse Racing were big hits, with 1975 seeing the first totally electronic slot machine debuting, thanks to the Fortune Coin Company, and the rest, as they say, is history!