Every slot gambler knows about the history of slot machines don’t they? But what many people are not so well versed on is the history of the slot machine symbols themselves. It’s quite funny that, without the development of slot machine symbols Charles D. Fey simply would not have been able to turn his idea into reality. Luckily for him Charles D. Fey had a wealth of inspiration when he was designing his Liberty Bell slot machine, and that is why we have slot machine symbols at diamond jackpots today.

Without the pioneering work of this famous Californian gambling engineer it is absolutely no exaggeration to say that the slots industry probably would not exist, or at least it certainly would not exist in the same way that it does today. Aside from the innate questions in how exactly to design the reels to spin mechanically one of the hardest problems for Mr Fey was deciding how to use symbols. Read ahead for a discussion into the history of slot machine symbols.

The first slot machine symbols

So then, to have an adequate grasp of the full evolution of slot machine symbols over the years we first have to go right back to the start of the entire thing. When designing his critically acclaimed Liberty Bell slot machine back in the late 1800s Charles D. Fey had to choose a symbol that would come to be the highest paying icon, and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what this was. That’s right, a pair of Liberty bells! As a result the liberty bell icon was often used as the highest paying icons in the early days of slot gambling entertainment.

Of course, the Californian engineer couldn’t just rely on one symbol to create his game, he needed several others to complete the game. For this he used a variety of playing card symbols, icons that were used before the Liberty Bell machine was created, and that are still in popular circulation today too. Over time horseshoes and stars also started becoming visible in the early slots industry too. When looking at the modern online slot market you can see the integral influence that Fey’s initial symbols had on things.

Fruits, 7s and the commercial wave of slot machine symbols

It really did not take long for the Liberty Bell machine and its various derivatives to spread across America, quite literally a handful of years, however due to the prohibition of gambling at the time it took a little while before slot machines could find anywhere near the commercial success that they have today.

In the mid 1900s the ban was lifted, and slot machines were very quickly made commonplace in places like Las Vegas. This resulted in the proliferation of famous icons such as fruit and magic 7s.

Video slots and slot machine symbols

Before the invention of the RNG and subsequent wave of video slots engineers had to make sure that their icons could be made into reality, however after this all you had to do was digitally create an icon, leading to thousands of possibilities!

Julian carter

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