History of slots
At one time, slot machines very quickly won recognition in gaming centers and casinos around the world, because, unlike the same table games, in slot machines the player sets the pace of the game himself, no special skills are required from the players, and absolutely everything depends solely on luck and old Fortuna.
Interestingly, the original American term “slot machine” was used to refer to both vending and slot machines (a slot is a slot for accepting coins). Both gaming and vending machines had identical slots. But later, the term “slot machine” was assigned to those machines that, in exchange for a coin, did not provide goods, but made it possible to play any game. But progress does not stand still. Now you don’t need any coins, and slot machines – which you can play for free all day long, are available to all of us on the Internet.
The history of slot machines dates back to 1884-88. (according to various sources) when the German-American Charles Fay (1862-1944) created his first slot machine in his auto repair shop, which worked from 5-cent coins. The maximum win of the first slot machine was 10 coins of 5 cents – only half a dollar.
August Charles Fey (1862-1944) was the sixteenth and last child in the family of a village teacher from Bavaria.
A passion for mechanics was discovered in a boy at the age of 14, when he joined a farm equipment factory as a worker. Bavarian youths often fell into the German army and, in order to avoid this fate, fifteen-year-old August decided to go to New Jersey.
In the late 1890s, games began to appear that are very similar to modern slot machines. These were machines with drums that had cards on them, or a machine with a huge wheel on which many colors were applied. The meaning of all games was to guess the card or color that will fall out after spinning the reels or the wheel.
In the 1890s, C. Fey worked together with Theodor Holtz and Gustav Schulz, one of the most famous manufacturers of slot machines at that time. In 1893, Schulz created the HORSESHOES, the first 1-reel machine with a cash win counter and cash payout. In 1894 C. Fei built a similar apparatus, and in 1895 he created his own “4-11-44”.
The success of this device was so significant that already in 1896 Fey allowed him to open his own factory for the production of such devices. When in 1898 the decree on the legalization of machines with the payment of winnings in cash was issued, C. Fey tried to build a poker machine with a counter and the payment of cash winnings. The main difficulty was recognizing the cards on the reels and making it possible to accept and pay out winnings both in coins and in special “trade checks” tokens that were exchanged for cigars and drinks. In 1898, C. Fei managed to solve this problem, although poker turned out to be somewhat “truncated” – on 3 reels. The machine was called CARD BELL – the name “bell machine” for many decades has become a household name for all machines with three reels.
In 1899, Charles Fey changed his brainchild somewhat. Now the latter was dominated by the very popular patriotic symbol of Liberty Bell – the “bell of freedom”, which adorned the top panel of the machine.
Liberty Bell is a slot that consists of three reels, which are marked with: a horseshoe, a star, spades, diamonds, hearts and a bell. Only one line of characters was visible on the display. To place a bet, you need to insert a token or coin into a special slot. To start the game, you need to pull the lever.
The reels will start spinning. After the reels stop, a combination of symbols drops out. According to the table of winnings, the amount of winnings will be determined if a paid combination has fallen out.
Several Fey-designed slot machines have been installed in drinking establishments in San Francisco. Along with the first “one-armed bandits”, the first gamblers immediately appeared.
The success of the inventor and his apparatus did not give rest to envious people, so in 1905 a rather strange robbery took place in one of the salons on Powell Street in San Francisco. Only two things were stolen – a bartender’s apron and a Liberty Bell slot machine. As it turned out later, he was kidnapped by competitors – the Novelty company, which sent the “bandit” straight to its Chicago factory. Using the stolen machine gun as a model, the company in 1906 released its own model – Mills Liberty Bell. And soon, thanks to the fact that the factory of Charles Fey was almost completely destroyed during a strong earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, the hijacking company managed to gain a leading position in the market of gambling mechanical means. And it happened in just a few years.
From the early days of its existence, gaming devices have had to constantly defend their “right to life.” Numerous local and federal decrees and laws to ban slot machines were issued in the United States every year. As a result, machine owners had to resort to all sorts of tricks. For example, “Liberty Bell”, thanks to the addition of a special device, turned into a chewing gum vending machine.