Two popular accounts have been advanced by historians to give a picture of the path taken by the pioneers of the slot machine. Three names are synonymous with the story behind the slot invention. The first account, dated 1891 credits Sittman and Pitt while the second account whose date of invention is rather fluid gives credit to Charles Augustus Fey-a German immigrant instrumentalist. Taking all facts into consideration and the sophistication of the fabricated slots, in all fairness, it will be worthy to take cognizance of Charles Fey revolutionary contribution towards developing the modern slot machine.
Sittman and Pitt Invention
Sources at Casino Reviews acknowledges the aforesaid two gentlemen to be the brains behind the current popular gaming slots. The machine was developed in 1891 which derived its inspiration from the poker card game. It featured five drums and a collection of 50 cards. A game of chances should just reflect that. Equal chances of an occurrence of an event. Unfortunately, Sittman and Pitt’s invention didn’t pass this hurdle.
To reduce the chances of hitting the jackpot (though no monetary returns were on offer by then), the establishment proprietors manipulated the drums and reduced certain cards. The inability of the slot machine to give monetary rewards was labeled the biggest drawback. Revelers were rewarded with bottles of beer and cigars. Not so enticing on the part of patrons.
Entrance of the ‘Liberty Bell’
The chronological account of Charles Fey’s invention and later development of the slot machine is not that clear. However, his earlier works were considered revolutionary. The ills of the Sittman and Pit slot machine were addressed by Fay’s invention. Monetary rewards were automated. The five cylinders were replaced with three reels. Only five symbols were included. With the jackpot being the display of three bells. That should explain the origin of the branding of the slot machine as the ‘Liberty Bell’.
Charles Fey’s quest for perfection leads him to the developing of an upgrade to the Liberty Bell. To which was known as “4-11-44” in reference to the combination with the highest payout possibility. With the growth of popularity, Charles kept on improving his slot machines, with the outstanding feature hinged on the increment of the possible maximum pay-out.
Death of Charles Fey Monopoly
Charles Fey inaction to pertinent his innovation was his biggest undoing. Copycats saw the legal loophole and grasped it. Soon the market was awash with other companies’ slot machines. It suffices to say that the slot industry at this juncture had taken root. Too deep to be uprooted even with the subsequent enactments that outlawed gambling. The revelers had a way to beat the system. The trick lied in substituting monetary reward with sweets and chewing gum flavors.
Modus Operandi of the Earlier Slots
The earlier versions of the slot machines for a protracted period of time were mechanical. A characteristic lever could set the reels rolling. The fact that the revelers needed to manually operate the lever, gave a false perception that the game was in their hands. A factor that is greatly contributed to the growth of the slots popularity. The name “one man bandit” traces its origin from the lever that could set the drums rolling. It was metaphorically coined to give an impression of the addictive nature of gambling at the cost of losing all your finances.
Evolution of the Slot Machines
The slot machine has undergone structural and mechanical changes in operation. Some of the notable highlights included the use of fruit imagery, which to date, is still featured in slots machines. An electronic version (money honey) succeeded the mechanical version. Push and play technology substituted the lever. In about1978, video slots marked an end to the of the first slot generation evolution. The Internet euphoria in the early 90’s roped in online enthusiasts. Since then research and development have been the order of the day in an attempt to give something better than the previous version.
What a journey that has been for the slot machine. Stretching back to the Charles Fey mechanical slots to the current online casinos the Liberty Bell has made great strides and left a permanent mark in the gambling industry.