HOW DID SLOT MACHINES GET THEIR START?

HOW DID SLOT MACHINES GET THEIR START?
By Charles Jay

Over the years, slot machines have come to be known as a universal symbol for gambling; Most members of the general public only have to take one look at the machine itself and they will invariably identify it with the pastime. Indeed, the “one-armed bandit” has become a part of Americana.

The machine, of course, represents a game that is not only one of the most popular with players but has also become a cultural phenomenon.

So how did the slot machine get its start?

You’d have to go back all the way to the 19th Century.

A company called Sittman and Pitt – located in Brooklyn, New York – developed a machine in 1891, containing five “drums” with fifty card faces. In a way, you could equate it with a five-card stud game, where ultimately the best poker hand won.

The new machines met with tremendous popularity in hospitality establishments around New York City, and prizes were given out to winners by the bar and restaurant owners themselves because no money was paid directly out of the machine. Although it laid the groundwork for the development of the slot machine, it really was more like the predecessor of the video poker machine.

The slot machine, in the general way we are familiar with it, had its origin in the city of San Francisco, courtesy of Charles Fey, a mechanic who developed it in his humble shop. The San Francisco Chronicle documented a demonstration Fey made for this new machine in 1887, but exact reports are a little sketchy.

He used the term “slot machine” to describe the device, a designation which confused some people, since that was also the word used for a vending machine – the type that dispensed cigarettes, for example. It wasn’t long, however, before there was no mistaking it at all.

Fey was the inventor of the original three-reel slot machine. Those reels had ten different symbols on them – spades, diamonds and hearts were derived from card decks; there were also horseshoes and bells. And on each of the reels there appeared a cracked Liberty Bell symbol. because this was so identifiable, the machine came to be known as the “Liberty Bell machine.”

It process was familiar – the player put a coin into it, pulled a handle, and the reels started to move. They would stop automatically, and would pay off three in a row on the center line. The big payoff was achieved when three Liberty Bells in a row were realized, at which point the player got 50 cents for the effort.

Of course, it’s a little different today, with multiple paylines and the evolution of different symbols and icons and – with the I-Slots that have become a staple at Superior Casino – characters and storylines. But it all had to begin somewhere.

We’ll have more information on the history of slots as we progress. For now, log on to Superior Casinoand enjoy the great casino game in its state of the art!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on RedditDigg thisShare on Tumblr

Tags: , , , , , , ,



Comments are closed.