History of slot machines


The first slot machine

The very first slot machine, also called “one-armed bandit”, was the work of Charles Frey.

This German mechanic created one of the most world-renowned devices to win money in 1897 in San Francisco. His first creation was baptised “Liberty Bell” and its mode of functioning was almost identical to the current system, since three reels allowed you to spin 5 symbols.

The Liberty Bell

liberty-bellThe Liberty Bell is famous all around the world for being the modern slot machine. It possesses a revolutionary mechanical system and is not in wood, as was the case before, but in metal. It is also less bulky. The three reels of Charles Frey's machine are marked with ten stops, which can generate up to a thousand different combinations.

The success of these slot machines was very important until the 1920s.

With prohibition, gambling, and consequently these machines, called “reel machines”, were forbidden. However, their mode of functioning was diverted and ended up being used for candy vending machines. It is actually the reason why certain current slot machines still use fruit symbols.

Frey's Liberty Bell was copied numerous times and the mode of functioning remained the same until the 1960s. Thereafter, this invention was slowly replaced by a new type of slot machines using more advanced techniques and technologies. This is how electromagnetic slot machines, by flipper manufacturer Bally, and then video slot machines made an appearance and ousted the Liberty Bell in the 1980s.

In 1963, Frey's slot machine was reviewed and updated by Bally, who brought notable innovations, such as the improvement of reel mechanism, inside lighting, payment methods with redistribution of chips, or the possible diversity of games.

Online slot machines

Today, slot machines are not only found in real casinos, since thousands of them are available online. Technical evolutions are such that numerous variations can be experimented by players nowadays: simple and progressive jackpots, video slot machines, network slot machines, etc.

Design, themes, sound universes and many other elements of slot machines have been considerably diversified and make them one of the most popular casino games in the world, whether it is in real casinos or online.