Posted May 18, 2013 by GamblingKing in Slots

Liberty Bell: The Very First Slot Machine

liberty bell slot machine
liberty bell slot machine

Charles Fey was a San Francisco automobile mechanic and the inventor of the Liberty Bell. Liberty Bell was the first slot machine in the world and featured 3 reels with a variety of symbols pictured on each reel. Slot machines were known as one-armed bandits in American and fruit machines in the UK. The Liberty Bell was the basis of slot machine design for the first few decades of the 1900s. Fey invented the Liberty Bell in 1895 but since its invention, slot machines have changed dramatically. However, even to this day, slot machines in modern day casinos still hold a resemblance to the Liberty Bell.

The Liberty Bell slot machine – where it all began!

The Inner-Workings of the Liberty Bell

While Liberty Bell was the first slot machine, it was not the first coin-operated mechanical devices. Poker machines are believed to be the first coin-operated game and these machines offers a number of different prizes including gum, tobacco products and beverages that were rewarded when players receive a winning hand. Money prizes were not used in these machines as the law of the time prohibited real money prizes. The Liberty Bell has 3 reels and on the reels were images of card suits. This machine also had a picture of the Liberty Bell as well as other iconic slot machine symbols. In order to play the game, players had to feed coins into the machine and pull the lever to spin the reels. When the reels stopped, a random configuration of symbols lined up and players received a prize if the symbol combination was a winning one.

Charles Fey: The Father of Slot Machines

Fey’s invention achieved instant popularity in San Francisco but it also gained popularity throughout the entire country. After the Liberty Bell, Fey also created other slot machines including Klondike, Three Spinde and draw Poker. He also invented a machine that was able to distinguish between counterfeit coins and real coins. Many inventors followed in the footsteps of Fey and the most well-known inventor was the Mills Novelty Company. Mills created the Operator Bell slot machine in 1910 and used fruit symbols instead of card suits. The Mills Company later created slot machines with lighter wooden frames. While Fey’s invention was wildly popular, it created an outrage among anti-gambling groups who urged lawmakers to prohibit these games. Now, Fey’s legacy can be seen in casino all over the world and also come in the form of online pokies at online casinos. Fey’s original slot machine prototype is on display at a saloon in Reno, Nevada.


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