A Brief History Of Slot Machines
Slot machines are well represented in almost every casino in the world, both on land and online, mostly because they are so popular.
If you go to a land-based casino, you are likely to see several machines, and you will find hundreds of them in some of the larger venues. You can find a huge selection of virtual games in many of the leading online casinos.
The history of these slot machines goes back many years. There is a debate about who originally came up with the idea and when, although there are two widely accepted reports on how slots were created.
We look at the two versions of their invention and discuss how they have evolved over time into the devices we know today.
The Invention Of Slot Machines
There are at least two different narratives to the original invention of slot machines. One of them is that the first device was the Liberty Bell machine, invented in 1887 by an American named Charles Fey.
It was relatively simple, with just three roles and five symbols: a Liberty Bell (hence the name) along with a horseshoe, a heart, a diamond, and a spade.
The other version is that Fey did not develop his machine until later, in 1895, and that the first device was inaugurated in 1891 by two men named Sittman and Pitt. This machine was loosely based on poker, although only 50 cards were used.
These 50 cards were shown on five spinning drums (10 each), each showing a five-card poker hand. The better the displayed hand, the more a player could win.
There were some similarities and differences between these two devices. Both required a player to pull a lever to start reeling or drumming, and this was this aspect that led to slot machines being known as one-armed bandits.
The basic principle of both was also the same, with players tossing a coin and winning certain amounts based on the outcome of the spin.
One of the main differences between the two was that the Liberty Bell had a mechanism that automatically issued coins depending on the outcome of the spin, while the machine developed by Sittman and Pitt didn’t.
Other companies soon started making their versions of these early machines, and the gaming machine industry was well established.
The Evolution Of Slot Machines
The early machines served a purpose and surely attracted the attention of many people who enjoyed playing them. However, they were somewhat basic. Over time, they have become more sophisticated and a number of improvements have been made.
There have been a number of notable developments in the history of slot machines. A particularly significant case occurred when a Chicago-based manufacturer first used fruit symbols on the rollers.
This became a standard and many games still display fruit symbols today.
Perhaps the most significant development was many years later, in 1963, when Bally Manufacturing made Money Honey.
This included holding reels for subsequent spin or nudge reels to try to make winning combinations.
Electronic games continued to develop and soon video slots appeared. Physical roles were not used, instead everything was shown graphically on one screen. This led to the introduction of second screen games with additional bonus rounds, in which the displayed roles change to another screen on which further payouts can be won.
The next major development was at the end of the 20th century when online casinos started to populate the internet.
Most of the early online casinos offered a range of slot games, and pretty much every one today. Slots are among the most popular casino games, with literally hundreds of different variations.
These games have evolved considerably since the first versions. You will now find games based on different types of topics, with many rules and functions. Some of them have progressive jackpots that increase over time and potentially grow into huge sums of money.
The companies that develop online slot machines are constantly improving their offerings and are constantly looking for ways to create something new and offer something unique.