Reinventing the Fruit Machine – Online Casino Edition

By  //  August 9, 2023

The classic fruit machine is an iconic symbol of slot game history. Since the very first machine to allow automated payouts was created sometime around 1895, the reels have continued to evolve. 

This machine, known as the Liberty Bell, was created by a car mechanic named Charles Fey. Consisting of five drums and three reels, Fey didn’t get a patent for his design. This meant other companies were able to create their versions of the newly popular machine.

In 1902, slot machines were officially banned in most American states – leading to the birth of the fruit machine era. 

Nowadays, technology has evolved so much that even familiar fruit machines are available to play online, with themed variations like 777 Burn Em Up and Fruit Stack Deluxe

With this in mind, let’s delve back in time to uncover everything you need to know about the classic fruit machine era, and how the classic games have been reinvented today…

Fruit machines 

Let’s start in 1902, when the Liberty Bell was being continuously manufactured, despite a change in gaming laws. As cash prizes were no longer allowed to be distributed, developers adapted. They created machines that displayed fruit symbols, corresponding to the flavours of gum that could be won. 

To receive gum from the machine, a player would need to insert a coin and pull a lever, which would stretch a spring inside the machine and set the reels in motion. They would attempt to line up three matching fruit symbols on the reels. 

The Operator Bell

In 1907, Chicago-based manufacturer Herbert Mills produced a machine to compete with the Liberty Bell – the Operator Bell. This newer machine worked the same, but by 1908, could be found in most shops, saloons, bowling alleys and tobacconists. 

This is when the familiar BAR symbol was introduced to the reels. This symbol became an iconic part of fruit machines, and simply originated from the logo of the Bell-Fruit company, who allegedly provided the fruity gum provided by many of the machines. 

Modern-day fruit machines

In 1994/1996, the first online casino sites were introduced. The games were legal again and as technology advanced at the speed of light, it didn’t take long for digital Slots to make their debut on the sites. 

Without the need for a lever and spring mechanism, electromechanical and video Slots created a new way to play. Nowadays, it’s thanks to computer software called a Random Number Generator (RNG) that the reels are kept unpredictable and fair.

With this came an influx of developers creating games that would replicate the familiarity of land-based machines. Each trying to stand out, the fruity reels evolved with technological capabilities – creating the huge variety of themed fruit machine-themed games that are available today. 

Now you know the history of the fruit-themed reels, will you be searching for the modern-day reinventions of fruit machines? Or will you be seeing what other themed games are available to play online – showcasing their modern technology?