Slot machines are the most widely played casino game, with a market that has grown significantly with the growth of online gaming. Now it is possible to play slots on a range of mobile devices, with software developers incorporating elements of skill into the game to encourage younger players who have been gaming for years. What may be surprising to many is that the first slot machines, also known as fruit machines or one-armed bandits, came from machines built in the late 19th century
In the 1880s, “nickel-in-the-slot machines” were the precursor to the first slot machines that involve gambling. Today, these slots can be played on reputable sites such as slot lv that include popular slots offering enormous payouts to lucky players. The nickel-in-the-slot machines were just games for entertainment that players lost or won, and it was because they were often found in pubs and gentleman’s clubs, that companies looked to incorporate wagering into the game.
The first company to bring gambling into slots was Sittman and Pitt, based in New York City. Their first slot machine, launched in 1891, had five drums with ten playing cards on each drum, using a standard deck of cards minus the ten of spades and jack of hearts to halve the odds of a royal flush, so increasing the house edge for the pub or club owner. With random spins of the wheel when a coin was inserted, the players could stop the wheel using the lever to create a poker hand and win a free beer or cigar depending on the cards drawn.
Charles Fey and the Liberty Bell slot machine
Some people do not consider Sittman and Pitt poker machines as the first slot machines because they did not incorporate automatic payouts. Instead, they refer to Charles Fey as the inventor of the original slot machine which had an automated payout system and used symbols like the ones used in slot machines today.
Born in Bavaria as August Fey in 1862, he later changed his name to Charles and moved to France, then the UK and eventually the USA, working as a mechanical engineer on intercoms, maritime equipment, telephones, and electrical apparatus. All his experiences enabled him to create prototype machines and together with a co-worker a new company was founded which created slot machines with an automated payment system. Over a period of 12 years, from 1887 to 1898 several variants of slot machines were created by Fey in San Francisco, California, with the 4-11-44 which was launched in 1895 the most popular.
The success of the 4-11-44 enabled Fey to leave the company and launch his Slot Machine Factory in 1896 to produce more units. He later invented the Card Bell game, similar to the Sittman and Pitt poker game, but using just three reels rather than five. This was the first three-reel machine with automated cash payouts. One year later, Fey modified the game to use symbols instead of a deck of cards, including an image of the Liberty Bell from which the machine got its name. Three bells on a payline led to a top payout. The bell symbol is still in use on slot machines today.