The Reel History of Slot Machines

In comparison to other gambling games like blackjack, craps and poker, slot machines are a relatively new phenomenon and hence, there’s little mystery surrounding the game’s origin. The first slot machine prototypes surfaced as way back as 1870. Later, in 1887, Charles Fey introduced the first slot machines (as we know them today). Even though Fey was not the first one to introduce the concept behind slots play, he will forever be remembered in gambling history books as the “Father of Slots.” Today, online slots and off still continue to provide some of the best online gambling excitement to be had.

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From his Californian home, Charles Fey invented a relatively uncomplicated mechanism: a machine comprising 3 spinning wheels, and each wheel featuring 5 different symbols on them including hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes, and a Liberty Bell. The simplicity behind the slot machine’s mechanism enabled Fey to create an effective and automatic payout system. A combination of 3 Liberty bells awarded contestants the largest payoff of all, 10 nickels. This particular machine quickly became known as the Liberty Bell and enjoyed fantastic success as increasingly more public places felt compelled to offer at lease one of these so-called “slot machines” in their establishments.

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With his slot machine already enormously famous, Charles Fey entered into a partnership with the Mills Novelty Company in 1907. Though seemingly uneventful at the time, Fey could never have imagined how his fateful to decision to team up with Mills would eventually lead to some of the best online gambling excitement known today. The move quickly paved the way for dramatic upgrades to Fey’s original slot machine designs.

The Mills Liberty Bell slot machine was released to the general population with the new slots featuring a cast iron casing. In 1910, the Mills Novelty Company launched the Operator Bell slot machine, which, with its gooseneck coin slot & wheels depicting fruit-like symbols, offered a slightly different twist from its predecessor – the Liberty Bell. The Operator Bell would later become the last slot machine to ever feature a cast iron casing. In 1915, the Mills Novelty Company began introducing slot machines with wooden cabinets, thus ending the cast iron slots era.

Throughout the 1930s, the Mills Novelty Company developed slots, which became known as “silent bells” due to the fact that these machines were considerably quieter than their forerunners. These new machines boasted double jackpots, which doubled players’ chances of winning. Also, slots manufactured in those days typically sported certain themes, such as the Lion Head, War Eagle & Castle Front.

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Slot machines achieved even greater prominence during the 1940s when the ever-ambitious businessman Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel had a vast selection of the gambling devices put in his Flamingo Hilton Hotel. Siegel’s motivation for installing the new machines was more about providing lighter entertainment for those women accompanying Siegel’s high-stakes gamblers.

No, no, no, thank-YOU Chuck!
Since then, much has indeed changed. For the most part, today’s slot machines are electronic & computerised. Today’s slots employ pre-programmed random number generators, which determine the various winning combinations. Most machines located in modern slots parlours don’t even accept coins anymore. And with the advent of the Internet, folks all over the world are enjoying some of the best online gambling excitement available today. And all thanks to Mr. Charlie Fey!