Slots History - History of Slots


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Antique Slot Machines

Though Charles Fey of San Francisco California is often credited with inventing the first slot machine sometime in 1887, a Brooklyn, New York company also invented a machine that at least added to the development of modern slot machines a few years later, in 1891. We have gathered additional slots history information about both of these machines as well as a few other historical slot machine details.

Charles Fey Slot Machine - Liberty Bell Slots

Charles Fey invented a slot machine that he called the Liberty Bell which became extremely popular in the late 1800's. It became so popular that California soon banned mechanical gambling devices and Fey was forced to sell his slot machines elsewhere. Supposedly by that time the demand was so high that he couldn't keep up, and soon there were many imitators and competing slots produced.

The Liberty Bell was the first machine to use symbols instead of playing cards, using 5 different slots symbols.

  • Liberty Bell Symbol
  • Diamonds
  • Spades
  • Horseshoes
  • Hearts

There were three reels, each containing all five of the above symbols. The largest payout, or jackpot, was 10 nickels for three Liberty Bell symbols on the single pay line.

Sittman and Pitt Slot Machine

Slots HistoryThe slot machine invented by the Sittman and Pitt company in New York used a standard deck of playing cards minus two cards. Though they didn't have to be the same cards in each machine, they were always two cards ten or above, and were usually the Jack of Hearts and the ten of Spades. The reasoning behind removing two ten point cards was it reduced the chances of a player getting a royal flush.

The Sittman and Pitt slot machine had 5 round drums, much like reels, each with ten cards on it. Each spin cost a nickel, so it was possibly the first nickel slots in history. These machines became very popular in the bars in New York, and paid out prizes instead of money on winning combinations. The machine did not have any way to automatically pay the winners, so the bar tender or proprietor would have to see the wheels and then give the player what they won, often cigars or drinks. Payouts for winning hands varied from bar to bar and the bar owners could switch the order of the cards in order to make certain hands harder or even impossible to achieve.

Bell Fruit Gum Slot Machine

Soon after the Liberty Bell slot machine, imitators developed many different types of machines using different symbols and different prizes. This is when the first fruit slots machines were introduced and where the popular melon and cherry symbols that we still see today originated. A line of slot machines was introduced offering chewing gum for prizes, and the bar symbols that are on many slot machines today came from the Bell Fruit Gum company slot machine.

Modern Slot Machines

Today slot machines come in thousands of variations, including video slots, different reel combinations, jackpots and progressives and even banks of slots tied together. There are slot machines based on cartoon characters, movie stars and game shows. There are many companies that manufacture modern slot machines. Here is a list of some of the most popular slots manufacturers.

  • Bally Gaming (Introduced the first electro-mechanic slot machine in 1964. It was named Money Honey)
  • WMS Gaming
  • Konami
  • Atronic
  • Aristocrat
  • IGT - International Game Technology
  • Sigma Gaming
  • Shuffle Master

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