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Liberty Bell Slot Machine - Beginning of the Era

Definition of the Notion

Basically slot machine is nothing but a gambling machine, placed in land-based casinos, that is operated by means of the button or lever. Such a machine has drums with different symbols on them as well as 3, 5 or 7 reels. Once a gambler pushes the button, the reels start spinning and the gambler waits till it stops to see whether he wins a jackpot or not. In the USA the game is called “slot” or “coin machines”; in Great Britain it is called “fruit machines”; in Canada it is known as “the slots” and it is named “poker machines” in Australia. Sometimes slot machines can be named one-armed bandits as after gambling the slot your pockets can become absolutely cashless. It should be mentioned that slot machines have either a button or a lever, but there are those that have both. Of course, in such a case the lever is used as an element of decoration to preserve the traditions and give the machine a bit more attractive look.

Charles Fey’s Invention

It is a known fact that Charles Fey is the “father” of slots as he was the one who invented the very first slots machine. He was born in Germany in 1862 in a big and poor family. When he was about fourteen years old he started to investigate different mechanical tools and devices. Such knowledge helped him to get valuable skills of equipment manufacture, which he used successfully working in France and Great Britain.

Looking for a better life he decided to move to the USA and settle down in California. He was 23 years old when one of the American electric companies gave him a job. Later it turned out that the company gave him not only an opportunity to work but also let him met his future business partner Theodore Holtz. They both let the job and started their own business dealt with manufacturing electrical equipment. In 1895 Fey presented his great invention, it was the first gambling machine called a Liberty Bell. The machine was based on a famous lottery game (“Policy”) and offered the first winning combination. This machine enjoyed such popularity that in 1896 Charles Fey managed to start his own Machine Factory.

Of course, the early machines didn’t provided cash winning, but it offered free food, drinks, chewing gums and cigarettes instead. The Liberty Bell was different as it suggested cash prizes for lucky winners. The machine included 3 reels only and there were five symbols on its drums, such as liberty bells, horseshoes, spades, diamonds and hearts. To begin gambling a player needed to insert some coins into the slot machine and pull the lever. After that reels and symbols started to spin and the player waited till it stopped to see whether there was a winning combination (three definite symbols on the pay-line). The winning combination let the player win a payout that was equal to fifty cents.

Of course, it took many years of improvement for the Liberty Bell to become the way it is now. Fey’s followers developed new slot types by means of adding some bars on the slot reels, making new design, introducing new functions, etc.

Since everyone throughout the globe wanted to try out a slot machine, the demand was quite impressive. The inventor of the first slot machine did not want to sell the rights for this invention, but he decided to give it in rent receiving about fifty percent of the income. Being a very talented person, Fey never stop developing it: he lightened up the slot machine, changed the material (the machine became wooden), decorated it so that it became more attractive for all visitors in bars, restaurants, cafes and casinos. He did everything necessary to place his one-armed bandit near the entrance of every public place. Another important improvement done by Fey is the check separator that stopped cheating as it immediately recognized every fake coin.

Is It Possible to Try It Out?

A great piece of news is that everyone who wants to feel the spirit of the past can visit the Liberty Bell Saloon in Nevada. This is a museum where you can find about two hundreds the mechanical machines. You will be pleasantly surprised of their daintiness and extremely interesting design.