History of Slot Machines

A page from the History Books!

Slot machines have been around for a while, though their history stretches back to 1895—when the first was invented. The Liberty Bell, created by car mechanic Charles Fey, was crafted in San Francisco. It featured three spinning reels, introducing the iconic spade, heart and diamond symbols adapted from card decks. Liberty bell icons, meanwhile, resulted in big payoffs.

Slot Machine Demand and Industry Growth

For many years, slot machine demand increased. Of course, Fey was unable to match demand with supply. Gambling machine manufacturers soon stepped in, attempting to buy the Liberty Bell’s distribution rights and spawning original slot machines in 1907. While very similar to the Liberty Bell, new slots became slowly optimized to feature modern symbols: cherries, lemons and plums.

Mechanical Innovation

Original slot machines were created from cast iron. They functioned from metal hoops called “reels,” and each featured up to 10 painted symbols. Lever-spun reels awarded jackpots when up to three symbols aligned—providing payoffs through the machine’s dispensed coins. It’s funny that today, with the emergence of online casinos like cancasinos.ca, they are built not of steel but of computer code.

Modern Slot Machines and Electric Gambling

Modern slot machines spawned from 1934 animated machines. PACES, or, horse race simulators, jump-started modern machine predecessors. All-electric gambling machines became incredibly popular when Nevada Electronic created the “21” machine.

From there, roulette, dice, poker and horse racing machines took off—inspiring new designs and fortune-enhancing products. Modern slots rely heavily upon 1930s designs, and they can thank innovative 1890s designs for the gaming industry’s basic principles. Today, we revel in slot machines for innovative displays and intuitive designs—both of which were fermented from years of dedication and creativity.