The Long And Entertaining Slot Machine History
Slot machine history may not be as exciting to some people as the history of the world, but it is something that can be quite entertaining and fascinating. The first one, introduced in the late 1890s, was incredibly simple and clunky in nature. When compared with the offerings available today - internet-based video games that provide tons of ways to win, beautiful animated graphics and even massive progressive jackpots - it quickly becomes clear that some brilliant minds had to be behind their development. However, no matter which type you prefer, you should be aware that each and every one of the hundreds of options out there is based on the original that was invented all the way back in 1895.
Charles Fey, born in 1862, is the one name that is synonymous with slot machine history. Fey, an automobile mechanic, invented the very first mechanical one in 1895 in San Francisco, California. He called it the Liberty Bell, and as the name would suggest, this three-reel mechanical device featured the Bell itself as the jackpot-winning symbol. In fact, to let you know just how long ago this truly was, the grand jackpot was 50 cents! Other icons included Hearts, Spades and Diamonds painstakingly painted onto the white background. You can still see this offering at the Liberty Belle Saloon and Restaurant in Reno, Nevada today. Some of the others that Fey later invented include Three Spinde, Draw Power and even the Klondike. In each one, he used the trade check separator so that wooden nickels or slugs could not be used in the place of real nickels. To make a profit, his brilliant idea was to actually rent them to saloons and charge half the profit.
The next pivotal moment in slot machine history occurred in 1907 when Herbert Mills of Chicago began the production of a knock-off Liberty Bell known as the Operator Bell. Unfortunately for Fey, since he was unable to keep up with production demands for the original but refused to sell the rights to the game, his title quickly lost ground. Mills placed fruit on the reels instead of card symbols, and this was the first time they were ever referred to as 'fruit' machines. Mills was incredibly successful and paved the way for others to design, manufacture and sell these to companies who wanted to host them. This is also the time when casinos began opening their doors and that is how Mills made his millions.
The first electric gambling game was created in 1934 but was based on horse races rather than traditional slots. Even as technologies got better and better and led to electronic blackjack, dice, roulette and even poker games, video slot machine history didn't get its start until several years later in 1975 when the very first electronic slot was created by the Fortune Coin Company. Since then, though, they have truly taken off. These days, there are tons of special features and lots of bonuses that would surely make Charles Fey smile.