Slot games are extremely popular and they have entertained players for over a century. However, while the modern video slot allows the manufacturer a lot of creativity in creating images, themes, sounds tracks and an amazing player experience, the images displayed have a much more interesting, and mechanical history.
The very first machine of its kind, and the precursor to the slot machine, was a machine created by Sittman and Pitt that was more like an automated poker game than the modern day slot. Cards from a deck were attached to rotating drums, which were set in motion by pulling a handle. If the drums landed with a set of 5 cards that made up a good poker hand, the player won a prize from the bar the machine was situated in. Four of a kind may have resulted in a free cigar, or full house in a really good whiskey.
It was only somewhere in the early 1890’s that Charles Fey created the first recognisable slot machine called the Liberty Bell. To simplify the game, he removed the playing cards, and instead created 5 symbols on three reels. The symbols were a horseshoe, diamond, spade, heart and the Liberty Bell, the games namesake.
A Slots Explosion
The Liberty Bell quickly became a hugely successful game across the United States. This slot could be found in cigar stores, saloons, bowling alleys and even brothels. Needless to say, originally, slots were almost exclusively enjoyed by men.
However, legislation started causing trouble for the spread of the slot machine and alternatives to money play needed to be found. One great example is a range of machines known as trade stimulators. These were slots that were found in general or grocery stores before being introduced to bars and saloons, and encouraged players to take a chance to win a consumable item, such as cigars or cigarettes.
It was in the early 1960’s that the history of slot machines took another giant leap forward. Up until that time, slots needed to have an attendant that could pay out winnings. In 1963 Bally developed the very first electro-mechanical slot, Money Honey, a completely automated game that did not require an attendant at all. Once slot machines no longer needed staff to oversee them, the practicality and profitably of having them in an establishment skyrocketed, and the rest is, as they say, history.