The History of Slot Machines and Symbols

Slot machines are ubiquitous and the most popular form of gambling game. Indeed, no casino on earth, be it online or land-based dares call itself one if it does not have a slot machine or two. Nowadays, the groaning, mechanical slots that go clickety-clack have gone the way of the dinosaurs and have been replaced by others with virtual reels. Slot machines are usually played on high-def screens and boast the slickest animation there is, as well as 3D graphics and bonuses that would have been unimaginable 20 or so years ago.

Slots all over have undergone deep and fundamental changes and barely resemble those that came before. However, there are still enough similarities in the process and icons used to pique the interest of many who would like to know just how slot machines came into being and what makes them tick.

The History of Slot Machines and Symbols

The Beginning of slot machines

The first slot machine was built by a clever man by the name of Charles Augustus Fey back in 1894. He was previously a mechanic and his invention proved so successful that he quit his former job, started a factory and focused full-time on building slot machines.

Card-Loving Business!

In 1898 Fey built a three-reel slot machine that had an automatic payout mechanism, the very first anywhere. It was called a Card Bell and starting the reels required pulling down a handle. The featured icons were playing card values that could be lined up and formed into poker hands. In 1899 Fey built his most successful and innovative machine yet. It was called the Liberty Bell and had a trio of reels, with these having ten icons apiece. Apart from playing card values, this slot machine also had horseshoes, liberty bells and stars.
The highest payout was triggered when a trio of liberty bells was landed. At which point ten nickels or $50 were awarded. However, with long odds of 1 to 10,000, such payouts were rare indeed.

Law and Order!

Following the immense popularity of slot machines of that era, they were regarded as the devil’s creations by morality and religious groups. These lobbied against it and in 1909, the state of San Francisco banned the placing of slot machines that paid out in cash.
To evade this prohibition, Fey along with other slot machine makers of that period produced slot machines that had no coin slots. These were referred to as vending machines and gave out rewards like candy, gum and coupons that could be exchanged for cigars. This was the phrase “close but no cigar” born.

Let’s Get Fruity!

In 1909, the Industry Novelty Company made the first slot machines with fruit icons. These were an attempt to get rid of the gambling-associated playing cards used by other slots.
The following year, the Mills Novelty Company made their own version. Except along with fruit icons, packs of gum were also represented. These would go on to achieve fame as the ‘Bar” icon. In 1916, the same company invented the Jackpot system, whereby the slot machine pays out all the coins present when a specified combo of icons appears on the reels.

Wild and Scatters!

With the relentless evolution of tech, slots have evolved from clunky mechanical monsters to sleek, fully digital machines and virtual ones. As well, extra features like win multipliers, mini-games and more are often added. Along with icons like wilds and scatters. Wilds replace other icons to form winning combos. The scatter icon on its part first appeared on the electromechanical machines of the previous era. They were usually represented by cherries and would award payouts no matter where they appeared on the reels. Different types of Wilds can be found here.

Thus, they came to be known as scatters because they could be scattered any place on the reels and still award payouts.

Whether new or old, slots are an all-time players favourite

Slot machines are a chief form of leisure and entertainment and have impressively evolved through the ages. They are amazingly versatile and good for loads of high-grade fun. If you are on the lookout for the best slot machines of this era, only one place has them- Red Spins Casino! Get to spinning there and indulge in the peerless entertainment on offer.

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Author: Richard

Posted On: 07/08/2018

The History of Slot Machines and Symbols
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