In the 1800s the world was introduced to the idea of slot machines. However, they were not the slot machines of today. At that time a slot machine was defined as either a gambling device or an automatic vending machine and would continue to be until the start of the 20th century.
Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in 1895. Up until then he had worked as a San Francisco car mechanic. His slot machine was called the Liberty Bell and only had three reels. The game’s symbols were a heart, diamond, spade and of course the Liberty Bell itself. If a player spun the reels and had three Liberty Bells appear they would win the cash prize of 50 cents. To this day, this slot machine is located at the Reno, Nevada restaurant Liberty Belle Saloon.
Based on the success of Liberty Bell, Fey went on to create additional slot machine games such as Klondike, Three Spinde and Draw Poker. Fey was responsible for the creation of the the first draw poker machine in the world in 1901. In addition to creating these slot machines, Fey also created the trade check separator. This was a device consisting of a pin and a hole and the purpose of the device was to determine if nickels inserted into slot machines were real or fake money.
Continued Success of Slots
Fey’s slot machines were so popular that many companies wanted to emulate his success. He was asked to sell the rights to Liberty Bell, but refused to do so. This led to a arcade machine manufacturing company in Chicago to create their own slot machine. The machine was based on Liberty Bell, but the symbols were changed to fruits.
For the next several decades a growing number of slot machines were built. The Fortune Coin Company was responsible for building Money Honey, the first electronic slot machine, in 1975. Over the years slot machines then began to develop into what they are today.
First Button Operated Slot Game
Money Honey was the first slot machine that involved pressing a button instead of pulling a lever to make the reels spin. At that time, slot machine features were introduced such as nudging and holding reels.
Over the years electronic slot machines morphed into the video slot machines found in casinos all over the world today. This marked the end of physical reels and the beginning of a digital version of them. Thanks to slot machines going digital games were able to be further developed so that they could include a second screen for bonus rounds. This was the biggest development in slot machines until close to the end of the 20th century when online casinos and slot machine games started to become popular.
The earliest online casinos featured slot machine games almost exclusively, as table games had not yet been digitized as they are now. Online casinos continue to profit from the many slot machine games they are able to offer to players from all over the world.