The Evolution of The Slot Machine

When one looks at a slot machine one gets drawn in because of its bright colors and loud sounds. Just looking at a slot machine can amaze you as to how far this machine has evolved. In fact the slot machine is over 115 years old.

It was in the year 1891 that a machine that resembled the slot machine of today was invented. Sittman and Pitt invented a gambling machine that became the ancestor of slot machines today.

Sittman and Pitt's machine contained 5 drums that hold 50 card faces based on poker. The machine became very famous and almost every bar in Brooklyn, New York had one. A nickel would be placed into the machine to be able to pull a lever that spins the drums and the cards it holds. To be able to win, the result of the spin had to yield a good poker hand.

The problem of Sittman and Pitt's machine is that it had no payout mechanism. This made the establishment decide what prize to give the winner. For example the player gets a royal flush; he or she could get free drinks.

To make the odds favorable on the establishment, two cards are removed. The cards usually removed were the 10 of Spades and the Jack of Hearts. This cut the odds of winning a Royal Flush in half.

Four years later, Charles Fey designed an even simpler automatic machine. In 1895 Charles Fey designed a slot machine that is still the model of modern slot machines. Some even claim that he created this machine in his own basement.

Since Sittman and Pitt's machines' payout were based on poker it became hard to device a payout scheme for all the possible winning combinations. Instead of using poker combinations, Fey used only 3 spinning reels with 5 symbols. The 5 symbols are horseshoe, diamonds, spades, hearts and the Liberty Belle. Because the symbols have been reduced Fey was able to design a payout system.

When Fey successfully designed the machine it was later on known as the Liberty Belle. His machine became more famous across the United States than Sittman and Pitt's machine.

To be able to continually improve his machine Charles Fey joined with the Mills Novelty Company in 1907. Charles Fey's slot machine became even better when he and the Mills Novelty Company worked together in a successfil partnership.

It was because of the Mills Novelty Company that the many variations of slot machines exist today.