The Story Behind the Inventors of the Slot Machine

A slot machine, sometimes known as a fruit machine because originally all the symbols were that of fruit, is a casino and now an online gambling play slots machine. 

Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York in the US developed the first gambling machine in 1891.  It was the start of the original slot machine. It was basically a machine to play poker and held a total of fifty cards; two cards were always usually removed to make the odds better for the house, and five drums. Players would insert a coin and pull a lever to spin the drums just as we do with the traditional slot machine now. Initially though the machines could not pay out and therefore players who did win would be rewarded with a free beer or cigarettes from the establishment they were playing in. Due to the numerous possible ways of landing a win it proved impossible to have a machine with an automatic payout. 

Charles August Fey, a Bavarian born mechanic based in San Francisco, California devised a machine with a much simpler mechanism. He came up with a three reel machine with only five symbols rather than the original version of five drums and fifty cards. This meant that the game was not as complex as it had been and therefore could also offer an automatic payout. Again the game was played by inserting a coin and pulling the lever, when the symbols aligned then the machine would pay out. Fey designed the Liberty Bell, the most famous slot machine of all times. When the three Liberty bells were aligned then the machine would pay out fifty cents. Alas Fey could not patent the machine as gambling was still illegal at this time and therefore this led to much competition. The original Liberty Bell can still be seen in a restaurant in Nevada to this day. 

Later in 1902 slot machines became banned in the US, however, this did not deter Fey or even any of his competitors. Rather than the machines displaying playing cards as symbols, Fey changed the symbols to pieces of fruit, hence the British referring to a slot machine as a fruit machine, or pieces of candy. When the machine landed on three matching symbols whether it be a cherry or a piece of chocolate this would be the payout of the machine. Ok, so there was no cash component to it but it meant the thrill of the game was still there and players still won things. It was the simple way to get around the slot machine ban. The slot machine also became known as a one armed bandit simply because of the one lever that had to be pulled in order to activate the machine. 

In time the machines became more sophisticated and offered more lucrative payouts. Random Number Generators came into play, which made the slot machines more exciting and progressive and non-progressive jackpots. The slot machine has come along way since the launch of the Liberty Bell.