The History of the Slot Machine
We truly live in an amazing age where almost anything is available with just a few clicks using the internet but believe it or not, there was a time before the internet existed! Today we are going to look at the history of slot machines as these classic games weren’t always available online.
Of course, the vast majority of modern bingo and casino sites offer plenty of online slots but we are going to take a trip back in time to examine where these games came from.
Origins of Slot Machine Games
Before slots were available online, people enjoyed playing slots in casinos, airports, pubs and other locations but these games go further back than just the last century. This may come as a surprise to some but the earliest slot can be dated back to the late 1800s. The first accounts of the slot machine are based on the inventions of an American man named Charles Fey. It is disputed by historians as to the year that the first machine was created but many will argue that it was around 1887.
The first machine was a simple mechanical creation that had a structure of 3 reels and just 5 symbols. However, these symbols would go on to become some of the most recognised images in modern culture. The symbols were a spade, a diamond, a heart, a horseshoe and a Liberty Bell with Fey naming this machine the Liberty Bell Machine. The model went through several evolutions over the next decade or so and most will agree that this was the basis for the modern slots that we all enjoy today.
Another key date that is important in the history of slots would be 1891. It was at this point that the second innovation that would shape the future of slot machine games came to fruition and it took the form of a machine that was created by two men known as Sittman and Pitt. These two gentlemen managed to create a machine that was a tribute to their favourite game of poker. The machine held 50 cards but it was its engineering that would set an early precedent for slot machine creation in the future.
As slot machine began to appear at the beginning of the 20th century, they were actually banned for a period of time from the year 1902. However, the Liberty Bell continued to be manufactured and the era of the fruit machine commenced. This development would shape the future of the industry and would eventually lead to the online slots that we all enjoy today. From here, things began to move forward but we were still quite a while away from the development of UK online slots.
For many years slot machines remained purely mechanical and it wasn’t until around the 60s that things really began to take off. At this point, the first electronic slot was finally developed and it was known as the Money Honey. It was released by a company known as Bally and the game still had a physical lever despite being electronic in nature. The game was hugely popular and remained a firm favourite until the late 70s when the video slot made its first appearance.
Enter the 90s
The first video slot emerged in 1996 and it was known as “Reel Em” and created by WMS Industries. This was a watershed moment for the industry as it was the first slot to have a bonus round. Of course, around this time the internet began to grow at an exponential rate as well and we finally began to see online slots emerge onto the marketplace. From here, things moved at a rapid rate and the sophistication of these games grew hugely until we had UK online slots that offered big payouts and exciting bonus features.
Big gambling companies became major players in the online slots market and companies such as Eyecon, Playson and Net Entertainment developed games at an incredible rate. As the internet grew so did the range of devices that you could use to access the games. The mobile market steadily developed and now mobile online slots are more popular than their traditional desktop counterparts. The market is bigger than ever and has grown to become a multi-billion pound industry.
What Does the Future Hold?
Online slots UK games are more accessible and easier than ever to access. We fully expect this trend to continue into the future and there is no telling what the future holds for online slots. However, developers continue to innovate so you never know what we might encounter in the future. Slot machines certainly have come a long way since the Liberty Bell Machine. We hope you enjoyed our history guide and you can find out more about online slots here.