While talking about the origin of slot machines, it is significant to note that the term ‘slot machine’ was earlier used for the gambling devices and vending machines. As the 20th century ushered in, the term was restricted to only gambling.
Fruit Machine or One Armed Bandit are just a few nicknames given to these kinds of machines.
Turning back the pages of history reveal that the first coin operating devices based on poker were introduced in 1880s. Pitt and Sittman are known to have developed the forerunner of the modern version of slot machines in 1891 in Brooklyn.
In this machine, the gamer had to insert a nickel, pull the lever at the side and see the drums spinning fast. Since the machine did not have a direct pay out feature at that time, the bartender used to give prizes like cigar or a beer.
The Father of Slot Machines
Charles Fey is known to be the Father of Slot Machines because he invented the machine with an automatic cash payout system.
All the current machines are based on the machine with three spinning reels that Fey invented in 1898. This three reel machine had five unique symbols namely Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, Horseshoes and the Liberty Bell. The symbol of Liberty Bell gave a new name to the slot machines, and they were popularly called the Liberty Bell machines back in the day.
A jackpot prize of 10 nickels was awarded to the player who was able to land three Liberty Bell symbols.
It is also known that various manufacturers of the United States copied the style of Fey’s three reel design of the slot machine. Gradually, Herbert Mills from Chicago came up with his invention, ‘Operator Bell’ machine in the year 1907.
Thus, it became common to see these ‘Bell’ machines in barber stores, bowling alleys, salons as well as at cigar shops.
The Fruit Machines
The fruit machines came in to the picture after the alliance with Bell-Fruit Gum Company in 1912. Colourful and bright fruits on the reels replaced the outmoded card symbols.
This was done to keep the interest of the gamers intact and to bring about a better change in the gaming world. The fruit machine then paid out with fruit flavoured gums like oranges, cherries, apples, watermelons in place of cigars and drinks.
Another reason behind these fruit gums was to avoid anti-gambling laws of some specific states. At this time, the slot machines were called to be vending machines instead of gambling devices.
The Progress to Modern Slot Machines and Online Slot Games
While talking about today’s slot machines, it is appropriate to note that the modern players have a huge variety of machines and games.
The variety of games includes progressive slots, video poker, i-slots and big berthas just to name a few. In fact, online casinos have become the most preferred option for the games lovers. Currently, the online gaming industry is booming at a rapid speed and making new developments to serve the interest of passionate gamers. Mega Fortune is one such slot game that has already made players fortunes!
Thus, the history is explained and the present is being witnessed. However, the future and further innovation is yet to be seen when it comes to slot machines.