Slots first began in San Francisco, when a 29-year-old mechanic by the name of Charles Fey built the first slot machine in history: the Liberty Bell.
This invention, manufactured by hand in a small machine shop, has paved the road to gambling industries as we know them today. Fey was not only the inventory, but also the first slot machine operator, a he placed his work of genius in the local gambling palaces. The history of slot machines has only then begun.A little smaller than present-day slots, but not any less sophisticated, the first slot machine did not change much over the years; there are only slight changes. The wheels on the first manufactured machines were smaller and had only 10 symbols as compared to the 20 used today. The symbols, however, weren’t what we see nowadays; they were the simple, quite common pictures of playing-card symbols, accompanied by horseshoes, bells, and a star – icons of luck. The payout, then was as it is today – cash. When one of the winning combinations was attained, the machine paid out the correct number of coins, as you can see below:
Three bells 10 drinks Flush of hearts 8 drinks Flush of diamonds 6 drinks Flush of spades 4 drinks Two horseshoes and start 2 drinks
Two horseshoes 1 drink
Even though the payouts were listed in drinks, the machine’s payout mechanism was in nickels – not so much different from today’s payouts, huh? Nickels, quarters – quarters, nickels… ah, they’re both coinage.You can only imagine what a phenomenon this new invention was in the 19th century. People went crazy about it. In fact, they became so popular that Fey could not keep up with the demand in and around San Francisco. However, he refused all offers made to buy the manufacturing and distribution rights. It was his – and only his – and exclusive to California at that. That is until 1907, when the ’Iron Case’ surfaced. Herbert Stephen Mills, a Chicago manufacturer of arcade-type machines, began producing a machine with a similar payout to Fey’s. This one, however, was encased in iron, hence the name ’iron case’, and was the first slot machine in history to carry the symbols of bars, bells, oranges, lemons, plums, and cherries. By the time 1919 rolled around, you could find a slot machine anywhere in the country.Today, there is a number of companies producing slot machines, including: Mills and Company (the original), Jennings, Pace, and Bally, the largest of them all. There are also several in Australia and Japan. Undoubtedly, slot machines have become a world-wide phenomenon and one of the most significant additions to gambling palaces in history.
A Time Line Below we’ve done a basic outline of the history of slots using a timeline format. If you’re an expert in the history of slot machines and you’d like to share some of your knowledge, please do send us and e-mail and we’d be happy to post your feedback, giving you the appropriate credit of course.
1887 Charles Fey, a German immigrant working as a mechanic
in San Francisco placed the first nickel-in-the-slot machines in the gambling palaces of that city
1902 slot machines were banned in San Francisco, and soon
after that, in all of California and Nevada
it’s alleged that Mills Novelty Company (owned by Herbert Mills) of Chicago stole one of Fey’s Liberty Bell slots from a San Francisco saloon
1907 Mills Novelty Company began production of a machine that had an automatic payout principle that was similar to Fey’s.
It was the first machine to carry the symbols of bars, bells, plums, oranges, cherries and lemons
1910 slot machines or one-armed bandits as they were commonly called could be found in just about every city and
town across the United States
slot machines made from less expensive wood cabinets were introduced, thus bringing to an end, the era of cast iron machines
Charles Fey introduces the first silver dollar 3-reel slot machine
Bugsy Siegel added machines to his Flamingo Hilton hotel in Las Vegas
1951 the United States Congress made it a Federal offense to transport slot machines or consoles or even their components across state lines unless the ultimate destination is a state or
foreign country where slot operation is legal
1950’s the four-reeler slot machine with four reels instead
of the usual three was introduced
the “hold and draw” class of slot machines became popular in Las Vegas. This style of slot machine offered players a 2nd chance to win
1980 Bally Manufacturing introduces the first electronic
slot machine. This meant slot machines have more reel combinations and multiple coins could be played and also meant the demise of the traditional basic mechanical systems on the slot machines.
slot online goes live.
Take a look at the gambling tips page before you start, it will help!