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Who is Charles August Fey, and How was the Slot Machine Invented?

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How often do we stumble upon a slot machine in our daily lives? Perhaps not too much physically, but in movies/TV shows? Almost every day. Yet, have we wondered how these extra-ordinary machines came into being? Who could have thought of introducing the world with an idea this good? None other than Charles August Fey.


Born on the 9th of September 1862, in Bavaria, Germany, Charles traveled to the USA upon reaching puberty, ending up settling in San Francisco. He later earned himself immense fame as per being the brains behind the famous ‘Liberty Bell Slot Machine,’ back in 1895. Though slot machines were already introduced beforehand, Charles Fey further used these existing ideas to develop an innovative version that later got termed as the most exceptional gambling machine of all time. His understanding of improving the overall experience of slot machines back then led him to think of a revolutionary concept. Perhaps the feature making his work stand out was the automatic payout, which had been missing in the earlier versions. Therefore, it is understandable enough as to why he is referred to as the slot machine’s inventor, possibly because his idea sold out like nothing before. He was the first to bring the three-reel design, including symbols of bells and horseshoe marks.

Liberty Bell Slot Machine

When one searches Charles Fey up on the internet, the one phrase that is always attached to the result that comes up is the mention of the Liberty Bell Slot Machine, the greatest invention of his time. The first-ever machine to feature the three-reel slot and deliver automatic payouts played with a handle that would spin the reels and test player’s luck for the prize. The reels were designed with marks of card suit marks, bells, and horseshoe, all of which made it a hit throughout San Francisco. The game was simple, inserting coins and spinning the reel using the handle, wherein if it landed on three bells together, the top prize would be awarded to that respective player. As soon as it was brought in to the public, it went viral like fire eats wood, instantly! Just within the premises of San Francisco itself, Fey ended up having to distribute around 100 machines that, of course, earned him a hefty amount. Nonetheless, he was unable to patent his unique invention due to the restriction over gambling back in the times, which later led to banning slot machines in San Francisco. Eventually, this had Fey settle on the idea of reducing the numerous device throughout the city and instead of making one that would not accept coins. Rather, players had to play through an attendant. This led to keeping the slot trend alive somehow and became the first prototype used later to develop more advanced versions of it.


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Advancement of Slot Machines

The initial idea of an advanced slot machine of course came from the Liberty Bell, which introduced the trend of machine gambling through various cities in the USA and other states. Later on, in around 1963, a fully electric slot, ‘Money Honey’ was invented, offering a jackpot worth of 500 coins, reaching peaks of success across casinos. In due course, the several changes made to the slot machine mechanism were:

  • Reels – the first invention was based on a rotating reel, followed by years of more machines having the same concept. Having taken its time in the era of success, the drawback appeared, specifically with the three-reel slot, which could only offer limited combinations. This, in turn, led to a limit on the jackpots and failed to meet the public demand for better prizes or more excitement.
  • Computerized slots – As the reel concept began to bore the players, computerization replaced it, thus allowing a vast number of combinations. This, too, went viral giving the players more possibilities to explore.
  • Video slot machine – This perhaps, allowed the possibility for vast amounts of jackpots since it uses a computerized display spinning graphical reels. The majority of the design turned digital here, leaving little for the mechanical working. Thus, the players could now play on multiple lines, thus investing in for more turns and ending up winning bonuses.
  • Real money slots – Technology taken over all aspects of life is an inevitable change that eventually took over slot machines and the invention of online slots. To offer the players a delightful experience, casinos went with the idea of providing online slots, encouraging gameplay from the comfort of one’s home, saving ample time and effort. Ever since, we have also seen numerous famous casino games turning into their online versions, as with the free Cats slots and more of a similar category.


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Slot Machines in Casinos

While a casino itself owns immense charm that has made it a widely visited place worldwide, the addition of slot machines within them has also been the source of high income. It has been proven that players are bound to remain seated and play at the machines for a couple of turns, resulting in significant revenue for the owner. Thus slot machines are widely used in Casinos and are recognized as one of the sources in generating large amounts of revenue.  In today’s time, these have been termed as the most sought after method of gambling in casinos while being a generous aid in generating the income of the majority of casinos worldwide.

Studies have shown how they can provide up to 70% of the money for a casino, which makes it a favorite amongst the owners and the players. Gradually, the sweeping success has resulted in various casinos, especially; the online ones that have helped casinos gain immense popularity are more accessible to areas that have restricted access to gambling. At times of the current pandemic, these online casinos have provided people with the right amount of fun needed, saving their time and travel costs to the location.

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