”One-Armed Bandits” to Online Slots: The Evolution of Slot Machines

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Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in the late 19th century. Slot machines have developed from mechanical devices to computer games throughout the course of their more than a century-long career. Sittman & Pitt got a patent for a card poker machine, and that was the beginning of it all. 

A Poker Machine Belonging to Sitman 

Slot Machine

Sittman designed a miniature card poker machine that was about 33×33 centimeters in size. The mechanical portion of Sittman & Pitt’s poker machines emerged in New York taverns in 1891, with five reels, each of which contained 10 playing cards from a single poker deck. The institution gained an edge by removing 12 spades and the jack of hearts from the usual 52-card deck. 

Owner of the establishment where the poker machine stood would pay rewards if these were the winning hands. You may play normal poker combinations on this machine’s model and be paid off. These were usually cigarette packets, beer and other alcoholic drinks since gambling and the payment of wins in cash were banned from public locations. 

Charles Fey Casino Game 

It was in 1899 when Charles Fey & Co. created the first slot machine, “Liberty Bell,” in San Francisco. In 1895, Fey secured a patent for his automobile, which he dubbed the Liberty Bell. In the same year, Charles Fey & Co., San Francisco, launched a successful boom in mechanical slot machines. With three reels, an automated payment mechanism, and a lever to launch, Charles Fey’s Liberty Bell was one of the most popular coin-operated machines ever made. 

Of course, slot machines with cash payments were not allowed to be installed in public venues in many US states. As a result, Charles Fey slot machines paid out cash at gaming institutions and casinos. The term “one-armed bandit” was coined because of the mechanical lever that began the reels spinning. 

Mechanical Slot Machines That Exploded in Popularity in the Early 20th Century 

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In the wake of Charles Fey’s breakthrough, other companies began producing mechanical slot machines. First half of the 20th century’s most prominent “one-armed bandits” producers were: 

  • O.D.Jennings & Company, Chicago, IL; 
  • Watling Scale Co Inc; 
  • Caille Brothers, Detroit, MI; 
  • Rock-Ola Manufacturing Co.; 
  • Pace Manufacturing Co.;  
  • Mills Novelty Co. 

Early 20th-century mechanical slot machines were mainly prize dispensing devices rather than money vending machines (mints, cigarettes, chewing gum). Everything from pubs and saloons to hotels and hairdressers to bowling alleys was full with them. Only at casinos and gaming facilities licensed for gambling are slot machines that may be used to withdraw cash. 

Fruit Machines by Mills 

Bell Fruit Gum fruit machines, manufactured by Herbert Mills Mills Novelty Co., were a big hit. As a bonus feature, if a specified combination of fruit-themed images appeared on three reels, the player was awarded chewing gum with a fruity flavor, as well as the Bell Fruit Gum brand logo. Round chewing gum and bundled records might be seen in fruit slot machines. 

In theory, these coin-dispensing devices were the same. Slot machines, on the other hand, vary mainly in trade models in that they provide players the chance to win a chewing gum by capturing Fortune by the tail. In certain cases, the odds of landing a winning combination were as low as 50-50. A slot machine’s mechanism might be twisted by a skilled technician, giving the institution that had one a competitive edge.