Since their invention in the late 1800s, slots have been around for over a century. The first slot—the Liberty Bell, had three reels with five symbols each. Over time, the slots have evolved and offer more exciting features. Also, there are thousands of different online slots available.
Exploring the History of Slot Machines: From Liberty Bell to Online Reels
But how did the penny slots online come about? Here is the history of slot machines.
Charles Fey’s Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell by Charles Fey was the first mechanical slot machine. The machine was invented in 1895. The slot featured three spinning reels and had diamond, spade, and heart symbols painted on each reel and an image of a cracked Liberty Bell. Matching three Liberty Bells in a row gave the largest payout of fifty cents or ten nickels.
The Liberty Bell became very popular, and Fey could lease them to bars and split the profits 50/50. He handmade the machines himself but struggled to keep up with the demand. Many people approached him to buy the rights to reproduce the machine, but he refused. It was only a matter of time before imitations began to spring up.
The Fruit Machine-The Operator Bell
In 1907, Herbert Mills, a Chicago manufacturer of arcade machines, began producing slot machines after Fey refused to sell his invention. The Operator Bell was a knock-off of Fey’s Liberty Bell. This new machine was the first to use fruit symbols like cherries and lemons. It was also the first time the famous bar symbol was included on a machine based on the company logo. Due to the use of the fruit symbols in this slot machine, the term ‘fruit machine’ was born.
The First Electromechanical Slot
Bally, a Chicago pinball manufacturing company, began making gambling equipment after the US government allowed money-based gambling. In 1961, the company manufactured its first slot machine, Money Honey. It was the first electromechanical slot. It had three electrical reels, but the lever was still in place to make the spins. It also came with a new feature of a bottomless hopper, which allowed the machine to dispense several coins in one go.
In 1971, the Atari Company released the Pong Video Game. This led to a boom in gaming, and video slots were a natural progression that combined the two. In 1976, the first video slot, Fortune Coin by Fortune Coin Company, was developed. The slot used a 19-inch Sony CRT TV as a display. It became popular, and after its approval from the Nevada State Gaming Commission, it was released to the Vegas Strip.
In 1986, the first progressive jackpot was released by IGT. The Megabucks slot has a jackpot made by taking a small part of each wager.
In the mid-1990s, Microgaming developed the first online casino, marking the start of online gaming for real money. In 1996, WMS Industries developed the first online video slot, Reel ‘Em In. The slot had two screens, and one opened for the bonus round.
Microgaming also released an online jackpot slot known as Cash Splash. This game has been responsible for some of the biggest jackpot payouts ever.
It was not long before slots moved to mobile phones from the computer. Through mobile technology developments, slots can now be played on mobile phones and tablets.