The Story Behind the Inventors of the First Slot Machine

Today, the gambling industry, including the ever-popular slot machine is thriving incredibly. Making the most of a huge market that has been opened wide by the ease of accessibility to the internet and the prominence of online gambling, in the last decade or two, there has been a huge leap forward for what was always quite a successful industry – play here.

The rise of the smartphone has no doubt played a part, with the handheld devices in our very hands now the leading way in how we, the general public, buy, consume and interact with our media. It is now so easy to gamble online, providing you are of age of course.

Gambling itself is, of course, no new sensation, with the nature of the pastime being one that quite simply is timeless. In its modern form, such as online slot machines, the all-conquering, all action, high production value experiences that have overtaken the humble fruit machine, the seeds were sown in the 19th century.

This is when the first slot machine or the poker machine was invented and created, put into action, and enjoyed by some old-fashioned gamblers who were then at the front of a new age of gambling. The story of the invention of the first slot machine is a fascinating one and the end result was something so far removed from the modern online slot of today that you would barely recognize it.

Who Invented the Slot Machine?

Who Invented the Slot Machine?

The slot machine was invented by a man called Charles Fey from the United States of America. Where else could such a perfect model of capitalism, fun and profit be invented?

In collaboration with the company, Liberty Bell, the first slot machine was developed and officially invented in 1887, created in San Francisco, California. Despite this being the official unveiling, it is widely suspected that there were several prototypes made by Fey that came a little earlier. For example, in 1885 there was said to be an even simpler version of the machine that we now acknowledge as the first slot.

A simple mechanism, this initial slot machine had three reels and each of these had five symbols on them. Far from the elaborate themes of today that take us underwater, into outer space and back in time, the symbols on this original slot machine were made of card symbols, diamonds, spades, and hearts, as well as horseshoes and a bell, to represent Liberty Bell.

Interestingly, the reason bells were to feature on many slots from then on, even up until the present day, is thanks to the part that the company Liberty Bell played in their invention.

Fey was able to configure a mechanism that allowed for automatic repayment of wins but before then, your wins had to be redeemed at the bar or counter of the establishment that you were gambling in. Quickly the demand for more machines came in and Fey simply could not keep up, and that is when other developers of slot machines began to thrive in the growing industry, too.

Images Courtesy of Canva.

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