Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither were the slot machine features that we know and love today. From card-filled drums, reels with fruity symbols and the introduction of bonus screens; the history of slot machines is full and flourishing.
Whilst nowadays, exclusive slot games for UK players at www.griffoncasino.com are available at the click of a button – but that hasn’t always been the case. Join us as we look at some of the key figures who pioneered and manufactured the different versions of our favourite gaming machine.
Read on to find out more.
Sittman and Pitt
In 1891, the first five-drum machine was developed by Sittman and Pitt. This made America the first country to have access to this kind of gaming machine – and the rest was history! The reels – where all of the action takes place – were filled with 50 playing cards, with the objective being to line up winning Poker hands in order to bag a prize.
This was a great success as Poker was already a well-established game for casino fans. This meant that learning how to play on a slot machine was even easier, all they needed to do was remember to pull the lever and wait to see what happens!
Charles Fey is often credited as the first creator of the slot machine, namely one that had the ability to pay out its own cash winnings. Although the exact date of this development is unknown, its estimated to have been debuted somewhere between 1887 and 1895.
The key change from the Sittman and Pitt machine and Fey’s contribution, is that the game needed to be simplified in order to allow for automatic payouts. Instead of five drums, the humble slot machine now had three reels, and the 50 playing cards were now a thing of the past. Instead, there were just five key symbols rolling in, consisting of: hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes and the liberty bell. The latter icon is the key to bagging the top prize, therefore Fey names his creation The Liberty Bell.
Roll on 1907, and Chicago-based manufacturer Herbert Mills threw his hat in the ring. Mills came out with the Operator Bell, however arguably at the wrong time. Due to changes in laws and regulations, claiming cash prizes from these machines was prohibited. Once again, prizes had to be collected from the bar or cashier, in the form of chewing gum and sweets that correlated with the fruity symbols that earned players that win.
Fast forward to 1964, and the first fully electromechanical slot machine was designed, and manufactured, by Bally, called Money Honey. These reels were operated entirely electronically, however the iconic lever remained. This was also the first slot machine to have a bottomless hopper, with the ability to automatically payout up to 500 coins. Cash prizes had returned!
WMS Industries Inc.
Despite the internet offering yet another new way to play Slots, our beloved machines continued to be developed. In 1996, WMS Industries Inc. released Reel ‘Em. This was the first video slot to include a secondary bonus screen, offering out additional payouts. This gave slot games another level of gameplay, that excited players and brought in even more enthusiastic players.
Microgaming are one of the oldest iGaming software suppliers to offer out online slot games. In particular, they’re responsible for the first online jackpot slot to ever be made, called Cash Splash. Much like when the bonus round screens were introduced to slot machines, having the chance to win an additional jackpot online brought a whole new wave of players to the early gaming sites, helping to build the phenomenon that we know and love today.
Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly.
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