Slot Machines: A Visual History

From their humble beginnings as a way for bar guests to win free cigars or chewing gum, slot machines have come a long way in the current era of gaming.

Husband rolled the bones at the same moment and moved on to the massive elephant in the room that makes up the bulk of the casino’s revenue.

It was a long process from tiny acorn to massive oak. Slot machines have come a long way since the first ones were introduced in the 1800s, when they were merely mechanical curiosities.

Most can be played on a mobile device, and some include jackpots that can change your life forever.

Let’s follow the trail of breadcrumbs from the first, scarcely identifiable countertop machines Depo 25 Bonus 25 all the way up to the most inventive online slot machines you can find in cyberspace, tracing the evolution of the one-armed bandit along the way.

Years One Through Three (1876–1893)

The earliest examples of slot machines date back to the 19th century.

It may come as a surprise to find that the same year General George Armstrong Custer and his forces were killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the first slot machine was introduced to the globe.

In 1876, the first slot machines were installed in saloons and taverns as counter top games.

A coin Slot Gacor and a clock-like dial with random digits from 1 to 5 were included.

If you put a penny in the slot, the indicator will spin. It was up to the player to predict where the pointer will stop.

Each club selected whether or not to offer prizes, and the machine was seen more as a novelty than a moneymaker.

In the following decade, other, similar machines, such as a primitive poker machine, entered the market. However, the machine never actually paid out the prizes and had a reputation for being unofficial and inconsistent from place to place.

Historic Liberty Bell, erected in 1894

In 1894, American inventor Charles August Fey (of Bavarian ancestry) built the first slot machines. The coin-operated machine did well, so Fey designed and built another one (4-11-44) and began producing them commercially. Again, he was the first to market a slot machine that could mechanically dispense cash prizes when he developed the Card Bell in 1898. The groundbreaking Liberty Bell, an improvement on earlier models, was released in 1899 and catapulted slot machines into the public consciousness.

Fruit-flavored chewing gum was sometimes used as a prize in the many iterations that followed. The iconic BAR symbol, used in modern slot machines, was inspired by an early design for the Bell-Fruit Gum Company, which itself was inspired by a machine from the 1890s.

Those Rave Years (1964–1973)

For the subsequent 50 years, One-Armed Bandits were completely mechanized, with only cosmetic differences amongst them.

The reason for this was straightforward: Slot Deposit Pulsa machines were never the main source of revenue for casinos.

Slot machines were looked down upon as “something to keep the wives busy” as the guys gathered around the craps and roulette tables.

As a result, nobody put in a lot of effort to improve upon the slot machine. In 1964, however, Bally Manufacturing Company changed all of that by releasing their electromechanical Money Honey.

This three-reeler was electrically powered but still featured the traditional lever for spinning the reels.

Money Honey (1964)

The Bally Manufacturing Co. also made history when, in 1964, they released the first fully electromechanical slot machine (named Money Honey). Even though the reels were completely electrically propelled, players may still feel at home by pulling the lever to begin play. It also had the first bottomless hopper, making it possible for a slot machine to pay out 500 coins at once. The handle was gradually replaced by buttons as the primary means of initiating play.

Fortune Coin, 1976–1978

The next major event in the evolution of slot machines was the 1976 introduction of the first video slot, developed by Las Vegas’s Fortune Coin and produced in Kearny Mesa, California. The game was initially viewed in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, where it was displayed on a modified Sony TV, before it was given the green light to roll out statewide by the Nevada State Gaming Commission. After thereafter, electric slot machines became commonplace on the strip, ushering in a prosperous new era for slot players.

From 1996 on

The next major turning point in the evolution of slot machines occurred in 1996 with the debut of “Reel ‘Em” by WMS Industries Inc. It was the first video slot with a second-screen bonus round, in which the bonus game was played on a completely different screen from the main game screen. Because of this and other factors, slot machines have become increasingly popular, to the point that they generate the bulk of a casino’s income and take up most of the available space.

Internet Age

The advent of internet casinos in the 1990s marked a turning point in the evolution of slot machines. Both authorities and gamblers were originally skeptical, with the former fearing that it would lead to increased involvement in illegal activities like money laundering on the black market. The gamblers themselves likewise lacked faith that virtual slot machines could match the excitement of the real thing.

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