A creative and industrious American, by the name of Charles Fey, began inventing, designing and manufacturing slot machines in early 1894 from his workshop in San Francisco, United states. Charles Fey later went on to pioneered many innovations of coin operated gambling devices, including the original three reel and bell slot machine in the year 1898.
The “Liberty Bell” design is considered to be the precursor of all modern slot machines as its basic design continues to be incorporated in all of the mechanical and online gaming devices played today. The simple mechanical devices with three old-style reels holding 20 symbols have evolved into microprocessor-controlled software with up to five spinning reels holding hundreds of symbols.
The Liberty Bell machine differed a lot from the slots we know today. The Liberty Bell machine was made almost entirely of cast iron, and weighed over 100 lbs. The symbols integrated into the reels were stars, horseshoes, and cards suits.
The Operator Bell Slot machine was the next instalment from Charles Fey. However this time round he used different fruit for the symbols. The Bell Fruit company produced the ‘fruit machines’ which paid fruit-flavoured chewing gums to the winners, instead of coins which was previously the case slot games The BAR symbol that is still used today, comes the original ‘fruit machine’ as the company wanted to advertise there own brand of chewing gum.
After the anti-gambling movement banned the slot machines, “Bugsy” Siegel the famous crime boss built the Flamingo Hilton on the Las Vegas Strip and placed lots of slot machines in the hall. He did this as a way of keeping the wives and girlfriends of his wealthy players occupied whilst they were playing the serious casino games in the main casino.
As a result of the exposure, slots became extremely popular and the manufacturers saw for the first time the fantastic future that slot machines had ahead of them. Soon after, electronic slots were manufactured and made slots widespread then before. This also lead to the production of slot machine variations.