The Early Beginnings of Slot Machines
The invention of the slot machine is attributed to Charles Fey. But that does not really mean that there were no coin machines prior to this invention of Fey's. Fey introduced the slot machine in 1887 in San Francisco, which can be considered a major innovation to machines already present at the time.
Most of the machines that are coin operated during the time would get the player a free drink or cigar. Charles Fey's slot machine would pay the players in coin. Other machines prior to the slot machine were labeled as trade simulators since they deal out merchandise rather than cash.
Aside from being the first machine to pay out money in the form of coins to patrons, the slot machine also came with other surprises as well. Charles Fey's slot machine had three reels that had symbols on them. Each reel of the slot machine will have ten symbols printed on it. A jackpot on Fey's slot machine would be lining up three bells; thus the nickname bell machine came about. The early slot machines had limited jackpots giving a 25% profit to the house.
You can play the slot machine by inserting a coin in the machine's coin slot then you pull the lever/handle to make the reels spin. It was pretty simple and will become the standard of other slot machines to come. The slot machine then had a following and was predicted to be very successful.
Though the slot machine wasn't legal in a lot of the states back then, Charles Fey's trouble came from somewhere else. Patent laws of the time didn't cover gaming devices, so instead of selling the slot machines Charles Fey rented them at 50 percent of the winnings. Gambling houses and saloons were among the first to pick up a slot machine.
The Mills Novelty Company introduced a new type of slot machine in 1910. This new slot machine had some new features that further added to its success. Fruit symbols were used on the new slot machines as well as the traditional bells for the jackpot. This new machine had extra ten symbols on each reel further adding to the house profit. This novelty company manufactured 30,000 new slot machines.
Initially, slot machines were used as a diversion (rather than a huge source of casino profits) of the table game players' wives so they would have something while waiting for the boys to finish their game. Today, the slot machine accounts for a huge percentage in a casino's profits. From its early beginnings until today, slot machines have always been a huge hit.