History of the Slot Machine

History of the Slot Machine Guide

Walk into any casino in the world and the most prominent section of the casino floor are the rows and rows of slot machines. Slot machines, or one armed bandits as they were once called, have become a normal fixture in the modern day casino and the modern day gambling world. In certain parts of the country, you can find slot machines in every part of a person's waking life: from the airport to the bathroom, and even at the breakfast table of a popular family restaurant. However, even with the long history of the slot machine, slots haven't been around as long as people believe.

The first slot machine was invented by a San Francisco mechanic by the name of Charles Fey in 1895. The first slot machine did not have gold bars and cherries like the flashy slots of today, it was adorned with pictures of the popular playing cards of the day. During the 1800's, people gambled by playing cards and poker tables took up most of the gambling house floor. In order to get his new item to be popular with the other gamblers in the saloons, he had to connect their enjoyment of gambling with cards with this new machine.

Charles wasn't happy with his original concept and continued perfecting it till he partnered with the Mills Novelty Company in 1907, and together, they produced the first commercially used slot machine: The Liberty Bell. It resembled an old church bell and was constructed out of cast iron with paper reels. It could sit on a bar or desk top and had little feet like the tubs and furniture of the day.

When the player would hit a winning combination, a little bell on the top of the machine would ring. The slot machines of today use the same concept and mechanical devices as this little machine. The only difference between the inner workings of The Liberty Well and the machines of today is that there are now 3-5 reels and instead of the intricate gears and mechanics, all the inner workings are now controlled by computer chips and randomizers.

The fruit symbols were first introduced in 1910 with the advent of a new machine called The Operator Bell which the Mills Company sold over 30,000. Despite the popularity of the iron machines the metal was too expensive and the dawning of a new gambler was coming upon the gambling industry. The 1920's saw a lot of people with a lot of money to spend on getting rich quick. No longer were the machines confined to dusty bars and hotels, now they were being placed into finer establishments. In the 1930's, the Mills Company redesigned slot machines and redefined how the public would see slot machines to this day.

To entice other finer establishments to carry their machines they made their machines quieter and introduced a machine that lacked any notification that you won. In order to get more people to play the machines, they changed the cabinets to look more colorful and interesting.

This was the first time the machines took on a look of glamor and glitz. In order to increase customer use even more, they added a double jackpot promising a way to get more money in a quicker amount of time. In 1931, machines with themes such as The Lion head, The War Eagle, and The Roman Head. This trend continued two years later when The Castle Front was added and solidified the fact that themed slot machine were here to stay. Within sixty years, the slot machine accounted for over two thirds of the casinos total profits and revenue.