The Legacy Of The First Slot Machine: Charles Fey’s Liberty Bell

All of the world’s top online casinos keep a healthy number of slot games for their players, and for a good reason. It is the most beginner-friendly game out there, and it exemplifies the spirit of the casino: simple, easy to get hooked on, and hard to leave alone while being fun all the way through. Today, people love the concept of slots, whether physical or online, and slots are among the most played games at any given casino on any day.

Think about this, though: how much do you know about the invention of the slot machine? We see the online video slots machine today, as well as a fair amount of classic slot machines when we visit a physical casino, but how did it all begin? In this article, we answer those questions. We will tell you how the world’s first modern slot machine was made and the man behind the slot machine revolution.

Charles Fey – The Man With The Plan

Charles Fey is the name of the man credited as the creator of the first modern slot machine. He was born in 1862 in the Kingdom of Bavaria in Germany. In his teens, he started out as a manufacturer of farming tools, which gave him the skills with which he built the rest of his life. For work, he moved around a lot – first, he went to France, and then England, before eventually setting out for America.

Now, it has to be kept in mind that in 1885, when Fey landed in America, slot machines were already in use, but they were very different. The classic slot machine dispensed tickets upon hitting a jackpot. Players had to take these tickets to an attendant who would then count out and hand over the winnings. That is something Charles Fey did away with.

Of course, he didn’t come to America with the intention of starting a slot machine revolution. No, he travelled the length and breadth of the country before settling down in San Francisco, California. He got himself a job at the Western Electric Company but later started his own outfit with his associates Theodore Holtz and Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Schultze. And with that, history was changed forever.

The Story of The Liberty Bell

In 1893, Gustav Friedrich Wilhelm Schultze developed a slot machine that had its own automatic payout system. He called this the Horseshoe Slot Machine, and it was a very big hit. Then in 1895, Fey invented a variation of the Horseshoe, which paid out in coins, making it even more popular among the people than its predecessor.

Seeing this reaction, Fey decided to make it work for him. He set up his own slot machine workshop sometime in 1896-97 and began work on the first mechanical slot machine. What he came up with was something that will sound familiar to all: when three bells aligned, the machine would pay out fifty cents in coins.

It might be hard to imagine just how wild the people went for this machine, but it was the biggest hit of its time. In fact, so hugely positive was the reception that Charles Fey had to go around to saloons all over California to install his machine. Suffice it to say that this was the beginning of the slots revolution in earnest.

A Lasting Legacy

It may be difficult to think that your favorite online slots might not have existed without the actions of a German immigrant to America in the late 1800s, but that is the story of the invention of the world’s first modern slot machine.

True, video slots might overtake classic ones someday, but it still pays to know how it all began. So, the next time you sit down to have some fun with a slot machine, remember where it came from and tip your hat to the man who started it all.