Today I want to continue (and finish) the post I started a little more than a month ago where I told you about the first slots or slot machines, such as the Liberty Bell. It was a device invented by Charles Fey in 1887 that originally gave no money and whose operation was quite rudimentary, but which was very successful at the time.
Its evolution did not take long to arrive, in 1891. Its name was Poker Machine, and it was invented by Fey himself. This new version did not give money as a prize but cigarettes and drinks and was usually placed in bars. The machine consisted of five reels with 50 poker cards and the prizes were awarded when the players had good hands.
Due to the success of these machines, it did not take long for competition to appear and in 1907, a well-known Chicago businessman called Herbert Mills began to manufacture the Operator Bell, with a mechanism similar to that of the Liberty Bell and all the bars had one or more for their business, because they brought them a lot of profit.
The fruit symbol of the slots
That machine had two versions, one that gave cigarettes and drinks as prizes and another one that gave chewing gum. The latter had several rollers with fruits drawn on them to show the customer which chewing gum flavour he or she was entitled to. From that moment on, fruit became one of the icons of slots all over the world, something that is still very much present today.
It would take no less than 56 years for the first electronic slot machine to appear. It was in 1963 and it was called Money Honey, invented by the well-known company Bally Technologies. At that time, the maximum prize that could be paid was 500 coins, a fortune compared to those old machines and very little compared to the prizes that online slots can offer today.
Liberty Bell, the first slot machine
Today, slots are one of the biggest gambling house sensations and the number of users continues to grow because they are easy to play and quite addictive. In addition, many of them offer the chance to win a jackpot, which can range from a few hundred $ to several million.
Although today’s slot machines are a technological disdain, they are not new devices but, believe it or not, they have been with us for a whopping 125 years. It was in 1887 that Charles Fey invented what was to be the first machine of its kind and christened it the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell was so successful that it didn’t take Fey long to launch another one on the market, which he called the Poker Machine and instead of three reels it had five, with 50 poker cards. Prizes ranged from a simple pair to a straight flush, which was the highest prize it could award.
The first slot machines did not give cash prizes
If you look at the photograph that illustrates this entry you will see something very curious, a deposit of chewing gum on one of the sides. Why? Simple, these first slot machines did not give cash prizes, they gave different products as prizes, in this case chewing gum.
The Poker Machine, as well as being a more modern and complex machine, also evolved in terms of prizes, as in addition to chewing gum, it also gave out packets of tobacco or vouchers to exchange for a bottle of drink that could be exchanged in the same establishment.
It was not until 1963 that the first electronic slot machine was introduced, the Money Honey, manufactured by Ballar Technologies, but I will tell you more about it in another post.