Charles Fey and the Liberty Bell
Charles Fey is a prominent person whose name is written in slot history. He is a well-known creator of a slot machine.
Charles Fey was born in 1862 in Bavaria (Germany). He was growing up in the very large family. There were sixteen children in the family and Charles was the youngest. Charles' family was not rich and he had to start working at the age of fourteen. He was helping his brother at the Munich tool factory.
At the age of fifteen Charles Fey moved to France and started working there as an instrument manufacturer. When Charles was 23, he moved to New Jersey (USA) and finally to San Francisco. In San Francisco he was employed at Electric Works Company. Few years later he and Theodore Holtz built their business on telephones, telegraph and electrical equipment.
The very first slot machine was made by Charles Fey in 1887. Though there is a group of people who believe that it was created in 1895. This slot machine had 3 slots reelsand each reel possessed ten symbols. It was the first gaming machine engineered to pay out in pieces of money. There were such symbols as spades, horseshoes, bells, diamond and hearts and also Liberty Bell (which gave the name to this machine).
Principles of the Game
The player inserts a coin and pills the handle (or arm) and the wheels start to spin. To obtain the highest slot payout the player should get 3 bells in a row.
At that times here were no patent laws which could protect gaming devices. On this basis Fey didn't sell the machines. He decided to place them in use in different gambling houses and got 50% rental charge on all winnings.
The early slot machine had limited jackpot. 750 coins made the total payout for all winning combinations. There could be 1000 combinations (10x10x10).
On the table of the first slot machine the players could see drinks as prizes. But actually the machine paid out coins. It was a possibility to get around laws of gaming. Lately instead of drinks it was possible to get gum or mints.
In 1907 Fey joined the Mill Novelty Company. And in 1910 the "Operators Bell" was introduced by this company. The machine name "Operators Bell" had 3 reels with twenty symbols on each of the reels. Such machines had a weight of over 100 pounds.
The slot machines had a great success which led to the opening of Slot Machine factory by Charles Fey. It happened in 1896.