Slot machines have long been one of the most beloved forms of gambling, thanks to their combination of luck, ease-of-play, and fun. While their history may seem convoluted at first, as the original machine patented in 1887 was not what we would consider to be a “slot machine,” as it did not feature spinning reels or pay lines and only paid out if specific symbols lined up – unlike modern-day versions with multiple pay lines offering numerous ways to win!
Charles Fey was one of several individuals claiming to have invented slot machines, with his Liberty Bell machine serving as the pioneering coin-operated machine in modern parlance. Though there had been similar devices before then based around card suits rather than coins being accepted; New York-based company Sittman and Pitt created five drum slot machines using playing cards as well as having automatic payout systems similar to Fey’s Liberty Bell.
Fey was initially born Augustinus Josphenus Fey in Bavaria. As an early mechanical engineer he would work on various projects, such as farm tools, intercom equipment, nautical gear and electrical apparatus before moving to San Francisco where he began work as a machinist; later changing his name to Charles before beginning prototype machine creation in his garage.
Fey made his mark in the slot machine business during the late 1800s with his creations: The Horseshoe and 4-11-44 machines, both of which proved immensely successful and launched him into it full-time. Additionally, Schultze and Holtz collaborated on improving upon existing designs to further advance these innovations.
Though slot machines were outlawed in 1902, the Liberty Bell continued production despite this fact. Once cash prizes could no longer be distributed, fruit symbols were added instead. By 1907, Chicago-based manufacturer Herbert Mills produced three-reel machine called Operator Bell that quickly became popular across bars, shops and bowling alleys; at this point the “BAR” symbol made its debut based on the logo of Bell-Fruit Company.
As Mills’ machine was an immediate success, other manufacturers would quickly follow suit by creating three-reel machines with various symbols and themes. By 1910, slot machines could be found in most cigar stores, saloons and bowling alleys across America. By the end of the decade, they’d become so widespread that 30,000 were being produced in Europe alone. Nowadays, slots remain very popular around the globe and many enjoy playing them during their leisure time. Slot machines have come a long way since their humble beginnings, boasting features that are now commonplace – like being able to place bets within seconds – making the future bright for slots as well. Technology behind these games is constantly advancing and becoming more advanced, and their popularity shows no sign of declining. Who knows what innovations will emerge over time – but one thing is certain – they will only become increasingly popular over time.