Home > History > Beginning of Slots

History of Slots

The history of modern slots began in 1894 when Charles Fey invented the first slot machine. The invention of a young engineer from San Francisco gave a start the industry of modern slot gambling making slot games the phenomena they are today. The first slot machines were placed in the gambling halls of San Francisco. They were primitive from the modern point of view and it took years to improve such an invention.

Charles Fey was born in Bavaria in 1862. His family was poor family and being the 16th child of the family, he had a hope to find a better life in San Francisco where he moved at the age of 23 years old. In the city found the job at California Electric Work (CEW) where he met Theodore Holtz – his future partner. Fey and Holtz quit their job and did their best to invent the slot machine to some extend similar to modern slots. It means that their device was so perfect in so many ways that a century passed but it didn’t changed much.

Those who think that the early slots were hideous are definitely wrong, because they resembled modern slots in many ways: they had the same size and almost the same principle of work. The only difference is that the early symbols didn’t resemble the regular symbols we have today. Generally the first slots had symbols of cards such as Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts – Kings, Queens, etc. Star and Horseshoes Symbols were on the reels as well. If to discuss the structure of Fey's slot machine, it should be mentioned that it had 3 reels. Those reels began to spin when a player inserted a Nickel. A very specific feature of the early slots was that they had a bell ringing every time when a gambler got the right combination. With time bell machines were removed.

In 1887 New Nickel Machines were presented and that was the first generation of slots. The new line of slot machines enjoyed such a wide popularity that their huge potential became quite evident for Fey. That was why he made a decision to cooperate with the Mills Novelty Company. Soon the Mills Liberty Bell was manufactured. It was a pretty good slot machine but Fey and the company still wanted more improvements. Thus, in a couple of years they presented the Operator Bell. It was a machine that weighted more than 100 pounds.

Since those slot machines were too heavy and the Mills Company decided to change that. In 1915 it introduced much lighter and quieter version known as the Silent Bell. The company also added the Double Jackpot as a bonus and other features which can be found even today.

Slots gained popularity but at the same time those people who were against them also appeared. Thus, the Anti-Gambling movement grew in power making slots illegal. However, technological developments generated a new wave of slots popularity and in 1964 the Nevada Electronics 21 Machines were introduced to the public.

Those machines were a bit different than the earlier ones as they had special chairs to fit 2-4 gamblers. A characteristic feature for the Nevada Electronics 21 Machines was that they were using only mechanical parts and that was why it wasn’t difficult to cheat them. Everything changed with the appearance of microprocessors as well as some other electric devices. New machines didn’t require much space and they weighted much.

Pretty soon, in 1975, video slots appeared removing the electronic age of slot machines. It was the year when the Fortune Coin Company invented the first video slot machine. At first, those machines didn’t manage to win the hearts of slot fans as they didn’t trust them, because they couldn’t watch how the reels were turning. Of course, such a reaction to video slots wasn’t lasting and as time passed they became popular enough to be placed in the majority of gambling halls.

In 1978 IGT (the International Game Technology) bought the Fortune Coin Company. William Redd, the owner and manager of the company improved video slots making them more technically equipped and more entertaining. New machines were placed in casinos of Las Vegas and hundreds of local casino fans made those slots their first choice. Inspired by such success, IGT desired even more improvements. Thus, in 1982 they represented a video progressive slot called Megabucks.

These were 3 coin dollar machines placed in every casino. Megabucks offered a great progressive jackpot eliminating the small jackpots. Thus, these smart machines gained the trust of slot gamblers and soon they could be found in each casino all over the world.

Nowadays it is not necessary to go to the casino once you feel like gambling. With the access to the Internet it is possible to visit a casino any time you want no matter where you are. It became possible thanks to the efforts of slot software developers. Their inventions help modern players get both the joy of gambling and the comfort of playing in front of a computer. Of course, the greatest benefit of online casino gambling is that you can always play for fun. The point is that there are numerous web sites offering to gamble free. Those sites will never provide you with any real jackpots, but they will let you enjoy the game and at the same time save your money.