Slot Machines History From the Beginning



Where the history begins


Slots History

One of the first designs of slot machines.

It is really easy to trace back the slots origins as they are the 'youngest' casino entertainments. The first slot machine has been developed in 1891 in New York. Sittman and Pitt Company have designed a gambling machine which is now called by many people the predecessor of the contemporary version. The poker game has served as a basis for the machine that has been contained of 5 drums that held 50 card faces. The combinations of those cards determined an amount of payout. If a player places a coin in this slot and pulls a lever the wheels spin and different symbols appear on 5 drums.

However, those slots didn`t make the real cash payouts. Instead of it the prize implemented a kind of food or goods from an establishment where the slot machine was located. Those machines were very popular and every bar in a city wanted to obtain at least one.

The first predecessor of a slot machine was created in 1891 by Sittman and Pitt Company.
Playing cards were used as symbols and the machine paid out according to poker hand ranks.
No money payouts were made, instead the machine paid goods or food from the place they were in.

Slots` father

Charles Fey was actually the first who invented a slot machine. He was an immigrant from Germany, who moved to the US and lived in New Jersey and later in California. The man in his twenties had the diagnose of tuberculosis and doctors gave him only one more year for living. In his turn Fey proved they were totally wrong and moreover he became a legend in a whole gambling world as all slots innovations would appear to be impossible without him.

Fey`s invention

In the 1880's owing to Fey`s efforts the machine that was really close to modern variant that we know appeared on the scene. He developed the first machine that had a name of Liberty Bell that came from inventor`s workshop in San Francisco. Speaking of its size Liberty Bell was a bit smaller compared to nowaday's slots and it actually had basically the same content: reel type slot, to be more precisely - 3 reels combining with 20 symbols that working process was similar to our current version.

The original slot machine was made by Charles Fey.
The first machine close to the modern version was called Liberty Bell.
Liberty Bell slot machine.

Liberty Bell gained an extreme popularity and spread very fast all over the world. Thus, Charles Fey had to produce mass of the machines and work overtime in the workshop to perform the innumerable orders. The symbols that featured each machine include horseshoes, bells, stars, hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs. The mechanism of the machine was programmed to accept five cent coins; it determined a payout according the results which appeared on the reels - 10 cents for hitting 2 horseshoes & up to as much as twenty coins to hit three bells. The quantity of such variations was really large.

Fey had not only wonderful creative mind but also the disposition of good entrepreneur. He capitalized success of his own creation and decided to let on lease the machines for fifty percents commission rate to gambling venues. Fey also refused to sell his invention mechanism and distribution rights to some gambling manufacturers.

Most important dates to remember:

    * 1891 - The invention of a 5-reel slot poker machine by Sittman and Pitt
    * 1894 - The invention of One-armed Bandit slot machine by Charles Fey
    * 1898 - Fey's Liberty Bell slot machines were introduced
    * 1907 - Herbert Mills produced the first Operator Bell slot machine

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