Who Invented Slots? What is the Origin of Slot Machines?

Posted on November 11th, 2011

Liberty-BellHave you ever wondered where slots came from? Who invented them?

If you think about it, it’s a pretty weird concept- banks of people glued to bells, 7s and cherries whizzing around waiting for their luck to come in. Whereas roulette, craps and blackjack are more of a group game, slots are something that you play by yourself (unless you play in slots tournaments of course). Who invented them?

Well, slots are popular around the world. They are called fruit machines down the pub of course, and pokies in the land where they use to play cricket (did you see the Australia SA test match??)
A one-armed bandit is another name for the more manual versions, as in PULL, SPIN, (hopefully) KERCHING, KERCHING, KERCHING.

Charlie Fey & Liberty Bell
The first slot machine was the Liberty Bell, invented in 1895 by automobile (it was in the US) mechanic, Charles Fey of San Francisco. The Liberty Bell slot had three reels. Diamond, spade, and hearts were drawn around each reel, plus a graphic of a cracked Liberty Bell. If you landed 3 Liberty Bells in a row you hit the jackpot: 50 cents or ten nickels.
Ol’ Charlie Fey also invented the Draw Power, and Three Spinde and the Klondike.
The Liberty Bell slot machine was massively popular and successful- the man seemed to have hit on a primal urge to try your luck, and he could not churn them out fast enough for the demand, and he steadfastly refuse to franchise or license the product out. So in the end a guy called Herbert Mills began to produce a copy called the Operator Bell. Mills used fruit in his games, such as (yep you guessed it) cherries.
And in 1975, the first electronic slot machine was manufactured by the Fortune Coin Company. So now you had people pressing buttons instead of pulling levers. Well, that translated very nicely onto the Internet and the rest, as they say, is history.
Slots are now one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world, and nowhere is that more true than online. In fact, you could say that the “ante” has been upped somewhat, as progressive jackpots networked across multiple casinos, are building into ever higher sums. It’s not long before they start taking on some of the big lotto wins.

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