Slots History - Learn the History of Slot Machines

Charles Fey invented the very first slot machine in 1895. In 1907, Fey teamed up with the Mills Novelty Company and manufactured the Mills Liberty Bell. The Liberty Bell slot machine featured a cast iron case with a classic Liberty Bell cast into the front of the machine. The machine originally had cast iron feet with toes. The models followed had the toes eliminated and replaced with ornate scrolled feet. The slot machines reel strips depicted playing cards (king, queen, and jack). The machine also had a bell that rang when you hit a winning combination. Unfortunately, the ringing bell was quickly dropped. The original concept, however, was not lost because now-a-days modern slots have a bell which rings to signal that a player has hit the jackpot.

Event's that Followed:
  • 1910, the Mills Novelty Co. introduced a minor change to the Liberty Bell and called it the Operator Bell. This slot machine had a good neck coin entry and featured the now famous fruit symbols (plum, cherry, bar, etc.).
  • These cast iron slots were heavy, weighing in at over 100 pounds. Over 30,000 of these machines were made.
  • The era of cast iron slot machines ended in 1915, when Mills introduced slot machines with less expensive wood cabinets. In the early 1930s, the Mills Novelty Co. had made a number of additional changes to its line of slot machines that revolutionized the industry.
  • Firstly, they re-designed the machine to make it less noisy. . ."so you couldn't hear it a few feet away". That's why its 1930's machines are referred to as the "silent bell".
  • Next the Mills Company introduced a double jackpot that assured players that they could win more than once in quick succession.
  • So people would remember the machines and to entice players, Mills introduced a series of cabinet designs that were striking and colorful, each with its own theme. The first, in early 1931, was the Lion Head. In late 1931, it was the War Eagle and the Roman Head, and in 1933, it was the Castle Front.
  • The Lion Head design still utilized the gooseneck coin acceptor that was the standard for the 1920s. The War Eagle, however, featured a new coin acceptor that displayed the coins played, moving one by one across the top of the machine. This feature, not only added additional movement, but also provided the operator with extra security by allowing him to more easily check whether slugs were being used.

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