If you’ve ever wondered why slot machines are decked out with fruit symbols, or pondered the significance of those iconic bars and cherries, you’re in for a treat. Let’s dive into the colorful world of slot machine symbols and uncover the juicy stories behind them.
The Origins: A Taste of History
Slot machines aren’t newcomers to the world of gaming; in fact, they’ve been around since the late 1800s. Back then, these early gambling machines weren’t all about cash prizes like they are today. They were mostly found in bars in the bustling streets of New York City, where they didn’t dispense cold, hard cash. Instead, they rewarded winners with cigars, free drinks, fruit, gum, and other barroom delights. But what’s the deal with these fruity symbols?
Well, the slot machine bar symbol simply meant you’d hit the jackpot, not in money but in a piece of chewing gum. You see, gum was a hot commodity among gamblers, and the colors of these fruity symbols hinted at the flavor of the gum they were about to chew. It’s like a tasty bonus for a winning spin!
Fruitful Associations: Why the Fruit Stuck
Fast forward to today, and you might wonder why we still see fruit symbols gracing slot machine reels. While there’s no specific need for them anymore, these symbols have stood the test of time, sticking around because of their long association with slot machines. They’ve become a classic, like an old-school playlist you can’t help but love.
Nowadays, modern slot machines take inspiration from a smorgasbord of stories, traditions, and symbols. The prizes aren’t just gum or fruit; they’re cold, hard cash or machine credits that can be turned into real money or used for cool stuff at the casino store. But the fruit symbols remain, a sweet reminder of the past.
A Tale of Two Names: Slot Machines vs. Fruit Machines
In the United States, we typically call them “slot machines.” But hop across the pond to the United Kingdom, and you’ll hear a different tune. There, these one-armed bandits go by the name “Fruit Machines.”
And while you’re at it, any vending machine that dispenses goodies like candies or cigarettes is dubbed a “slot machine.” Fruit machine symbols are essentially the same as those in other types of games. It’s a matter of what’s on the inside that counts.
The Early Days: Playing Cards and No Prizes
The earliest slot machines weren’t all about fruit and gum. In fact, they featured five reels adorned with playing cards. But here’s the kicker: they didn’t dish out prizes at all. Players would pop in a nickel, pull the lever, and then report their results to the bar owners. Each establishment decided for itself what rewards to dole out, leading to quite a bit of confusion.
The Revolution: The Birth of the Slot Machine
Things took a turn when Charles Fey came into the picture. In 1887, he introduced the world to the first-ever three-reel slot machine, known as “The Liberty Bell.” This revolutionary invention paid out actual prizes, marking a shift from the confusing days of yore.
The Fruit Machine Emerges: Trade Stimulators and More
The fruit machine made its debut as a “Trade Stimulator.” This early machine handed out prizes in the form of gum, candy, and other non-cash items. They were beloved by stores and saloons, especially in areas where true gambling machines were outlawed. Today’s vending machines are the direct descendants of these Trade Stimulators, carrying on their legacy.
Bar Symbols: A Fruity Heritage
Even those trusty bar symbols you still see in some slot games owe their existence to an early association with fruit-themed machines. The Mills Novelty Company in Chicago, Illinois used a Bell-Fruit-Gum logo for one of its gum products, which was popular in these games. Although the original Mills Novelty Company is no more, the name still lives on in business use today.
The Iconic Cherry and Three Lemons: A Pop of Color
Now, let’s talk about the slot machine cherry, perhaps the most iconic of all symbols. And let’s not forget the three lemons slot machine, not as famous, but the yellow color sure adds some zest to the reels!
These symbols have become classics in the world of slots, and whether they’re linked to gum, nostalgia, or just a love for vibrant colors, they continue to spin their way into our hearts.
So the next time you take a spin on a slot machine and see those fruity symbols, remember the sweet history they represent. From gum to glory, these icons have come a long way, adding a dash of flavor to the world of slots.