We’ve all had a cheeky spin or two on a slot machine – whether it was on an online casino site, on Las Vegas’ famous strip, or in your local brick-and-mortar casino. However, have you ever wondered where the colourful symbols that rapidly spin amongst the reels in your favourite slot games originated from? Well, we have the answers to all your questions! Read on to find out more.
Whilst some of the classic symbols are now rarely seen in modern-day Slots, card symbols – like the Ace icon – still dominate most of the online reels. These symbols are actually the oldest, dating back to the very first machine – back in the 19th century. Sittman and Pitt created the first slot machine in 1881, featuring five drums and 50 symbols – all of which were card suits. The aim of the game was to line-up Poker hands. The card symbols have been heavily featured in Slots games ever since.
Bells and horseshoes
Charles Fey’s creation in the late 1800’s was the first to feature a payout mechanism. However, this meant that the original five reels were replaced by just three. There were also only five symbols – a horseshow, a bell and three card suits. The machine was called the Liberty Bell and the highest-payout was earned through rolling in three bells. Whilst bells are hard to come across in today’s Slots, and can only really be found in games based on the age-old one-armed bandits, horseshoes – which are a traditionally lucky symbol – still feature in many games, particularly in the Irish themed-Slots.
Fruit and ‘BAR’
We’re sure at some point you’ve wondered why fruit symbols have so heavily dominated reels for such a long period of time, and maybe even how that dusty old fruit machine in the corner of your local pub gained its name. Well, Slots were banned in the early 1900’s and cash prizes were made illegal. So, fruit icons replaced the classic symbols, and punters were awarded with chewing gum and sweets in coalition with the matching symbols.
The ‘BAR’ symbol is almost extinct in the online casino world, but it can still be found floating around the reels in casino hubs like Las Vegas. The symbol was introduced by a company called Herbert Mills. They created the Operator Bell in 1907 and it was the first machine to feature the iconic ‘BAR.’
The number 7
It’s a bit harder to tell exactly when the number 7 was introduced to the world of Slots. However, we can tell you why!
For a long time, the number 7 has been considered a ‘lucky number’ in many cultures and religions. As it supposedly brings luck to people, casino operators tied it in with Slots to attract superstitious punters – similar to Irish-themed games, as people from the Emerald Isles are also meant to full of good fortune. The seven symbol can still be found widely across online games and in land-based casinos, presumably for that same reason.
As we mentioned before, card symbols, like the 10, the Jack, the Queen and the Ace, are the symbols that you’ll come across most often when playing modernised Slots – but these tend to be the lowest-paying symbols. The highest-paying icon usually depends on the game you’re playing – for example if you’re playing a mythology-themed game, then the highest-paying symbol will most likely be an ancient god, whilst in an Irish themed game they will most probably feature a pot of gold.
Wild, Scatter and Bonus symbols have also been added to modern-day Slots. These usually award you with free-spins, bigger payouts, multipliers or bonus features.