Throughout the years, slot machines have become increasingly popular, allowing players to enjoy hours of fun whilst having the chance to win cash prizes at the same time. From the historical ‘One-Armed Bandit’ to the video slots that occupy a large section of many online casinos today, these games have witnessed a surge in popularity across the world.
This article will discuss the history of these machines and their progression from land-based games to internet gaming sensations.
When Was The Slot Machine Invented?
The first slot machine as we might know it today can be traced back to around 1891. Known as the ‘One-Armed Bandit’, this slot was invented in New York by Sittman and Pitt. With five drums acting as reels and a lever on the side to set them off, it had 50 card symbols to land. As is the case with modern fruit machine slots, they were commonly used in bars across the country.
The First Automatic Slot
Not long after the invention of the ‘One-Armed Bandit’, the first automatic slot was invented by a man called Charles Fey in California, in 1895. With just three reels, this slot was widely regarded as running on a much simpler mechanism and only had five reel symbols.
Named the Liberty Bell, this first automatic slot could be seen as an influencer for some modern video slots today that still use three reels and a minimal amount of symbols.
Fruit symbols have long been associated with slots and this perhaps stems from 1907 and the invention of Herbert Mills’s slot machine. Called the Operator Bell, Herbert Mills created it to rival that of Charles Fey.
Despite the evolution of slot machines and reel symbols being comprised of just about anything, many video slots still choose to use classic fruit symbols. The likes of Double Bubble, one of the most popular video slots around, draws on classic features and symbols while still providing players with a modern spinning experience.
Slot Machines As We Know Them
In 1963, Bally Manufacturing managed to produce a slot without a side-mounted lever. As the first electromechanical slot machine, it could reward coins automatically without an attendant to help. Called Money Honey, this slot machine paved the way for electronic games of the future.
The Introduction Of Video Slots
Although Bally Manufacturing managed to bring electronic functionality to the slots scene around 13 years earlier, the first real video slots were invented in the mid-70s in California. Fortune Coin Co developed video slot technology in 1976, mounting a display on a slot machine cabinet and gaining approval from the Nevada State Gaming Commission.
Video Slots Today
The video slots we know today and their place in gaming can be traced back to the 1990s and the launch of the first online casinos. In 1994, the first online casino launched featuring a range of video slots to play.