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The first mechanical slot machine was the Liberty Bell, invented in 1895 by car mechanic, Charles Fey (1862-1944) of San Francisco. The Liberty Bell slot machine had three spinning reels. Diamond, spade, and heart symbols were painted around each reel, plus the image of a cracked Liberty Bell. A spin resulting in three Liberty Bells in a row gave the biggest payoff, a grand total of fifty cents or ten nickels.
The original Liberty Bell slot machine can still be seen be at the Liberty Belle Saloon & Restaurant in Reno, Nevada. Other Charles Fey machines include: the Draw Power, and Three Spinde and the Klondike. In 1901, Charles Fey invented the first draw poker machine. Charles Fey was also the inventor of the trade check separator, which was used in the Liberty Bell. The hole in the middle of the trade check allowed a detecting pin to distinguish fake nickels or slugs from real nickels. Fey rented his machines to saloons and bars based on a 50/50 split of the profits.
Wow it is amazing looking at this slot that the slot machine every got off the ground!!
Its an interesting story. Some other people actually came up with machines before he did but they had 5 reels with 10 or more poker cards on each reel. There were so many possible combinations that there was no way to make the machines pay winners automatically. So they set them up in bars and if you spun a winning poker hand you told the barman and he gave you a prize like a beer or some smokes.
Fey was smart enough to figure out how to make the machine pay winners money automatically. He did it by reducing the number of reels to 3 and had less symbols on each reel. So he wasn't the first but he built a better mousetrap.
I wonder what an original one of his machines is worth now?
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I betcha a Las Vegas casino has a machine or 2 of his. It has to be worth mega bucks!
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