History of the Slot Machines – Mechanical to Computerized Electronics
Games of chance have been in it existence for centuries. While the exact origins of many of today’s casino games are unknown, we do know that the most popular and profitable gaming device was invented in the United States. It is the slot machine and it was invented in 1887 by Charles Fey in San Francisco.
This uniquely American invention has gone on to take over the world of casino gaming, even propagating to bus terminals, lounges, and pubs in England, they’ve become hard to avoid. A “fruit machine” is the British term for a Slot Machine, or “one-armed bandit.”
Fey’s invention came about MEGAGAME 1895, and by 1907 Fey had teamed up with the Mills Novelty Company to produce the first bonafide slot machine, the Mills Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell featured a cast iron case, with a Liberty Bell embedded on the front of the machine. The machine’s reel selections had pictures of playing cards (hearts, spades, and diamonds).
Many larger gambling supply manufacturers tried to buy the manufacturing and distribution rights, but Fey refused. However, in 1907, Herbert Stephen Mills, a Chicago manufacturer of arcade-like machines, began production of a machine very similar the Fey’s Liberty Bell. The Machine Mills produced was called the Operator Bell.”
The most important innovation in poker machines came in 1901 when Charles Fey added the “draw” feature. On the first pull, all five drums of cards began to spin. When they stopped, the player had the option of improving his hand by pushing corresponding buttons to hold selected cards. A second handle pull would spin the remaining cards and the final hand would appear.