Slot machines are a casino staple that many enjoy playing for fun and the chance to win prizes. An iconic part of slot machines is the colorful fruit symbols spinning on the reels. Have you ever wondered why these machines use fruit reel symbols?
Keep reading and discover how this tradition came to be. As it turns out, there’s an intriguing history behind it.
The Origins of Slot Machines
The origins of slot machines date back to the late 19th century. In 1887, Charles Fey of San Francisco invented the first coin-operated gambling device. These old-fashioned machines would change the gaming landscape forever.
The early machines weren’t the flashy, electronic behemoths we know today. Rather, they were simple devices that housed mechanical reels. Fey’s machine had three spinning reels and five symbols. The symbols included horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and one special bell symbol.
The game played on Fey’s invention wasn’t the conventional slot experience we know today. Poker was a popular game then, so Fey modeled his machine off the game. Winning combinations didn’t lead to cash payouts but free drinks or cigars.
The machine featured five reels, each with ten cards. This resulted in 50 cards from a standard 52-card deck. They had no Ten of Spades nor the Jack of Hearts, halving the chances of landing a Royal Flush.
Modern Slot Games
While classic spinning reel slots retain their fruit symbols, modern video slots have expanded dramatically though, and they are even available to play online. Popular slot themes range from magic and mythology to adventure and aquatic life, featuring symbols that match each genre.
Thanks to online casinos, you can now play slots from anywhere. You will find them in any online casino. There are different sites that cater to players of different budgets, like the popular casinos with small deposit requirements. Minimum deposit sites allow recreational players to access real money games and potentially fruitful wins. Click here to play slots at $10 minimum deposit casinos. You will also find other sites that allow deposits as low as $5 or $1 to accommodate all bankrolls.
As these coin-operated machines gained popularity, they earned the moniker “one-armed bandits.” They were nicknamed so because of the lever on the side of the machine that players pulled to set the reels in motion. The machines also earned the nickname for their ability to quickly empty players’ pockets like thieves would.
The thrill of the spinning reels and the chance to strike it lucky drew crowds. This helped establish slot machines as a mainstay in the world of gambling.
Legal Hurdles: Fruits Join the Reels
In 1909, San Francisco dealt a significant blow to the burgeoning slot machine industry by banning all 3,300 slot machines in the city. This marked the beginning of a series of legal challenges and restrictions that would shape the evolution of slot machines.
Despite the bans, manufacturers found clever ways to keep them legal. They ingeniously adapted their machines to dispense gum instead. They awarded fruit-flavored gum with winning combinations instead of money.
The reel symbols changed from card suits to juicy fruit icons. The bright, enticing fruit images helped brand these machines as harmless novelty entertainment. With this move, manufacturers evaded the legal constraints on cash-paying slot machines. This shift preserved slots popularity, and people loved the new improved machines.
Fruit Symbols in Slot Machines
Cherries and lemons were some of the first fruit images used on slot reels in the early 1900s. Their bright red and yellow colors attracted players. Later, other fruit signs like plums, oranges, watermelons, and grapes graced slot machines.
The Industry Novelty Company, run by O.D. Jennings popularized the symbols. It manufactured mint vending slot machines with illuminated reels. Oranges, cherries, lemons, and plums became signature images. The machines rewarded fruit chewing gum combinations rather than money. This allowed Jennings’ slots to comply with anti-gambling laws while providing entertainment.
The reasoning behind using fruits was two-fold. The fruity symbols represented different chewing gum flavors players could win as prizes. The symbols were vibrant and easily distinguishable, enhancing the appeal of the machines. The move to gum prizes bypassed legal restrictions and forever changed the history of slot games.
Lifting of Restrictions
In the 1960s, legal restrictions on slot machines finally eased. States sanctioned specific gambling zones like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Manufacturers no longer needed to mask slot machines as gum vendors and heavily promoted their cash-winning function.
Fruit symbols had become firmly ingrained into slot machine culture and aesthetics. Though reel symbols branched out to include 7s, bars, bells, and other icons, fruits remained at the heart of slot machine designs. Their legacy continues today, making fruits a classic part of slot machine culture. Any slot game you pick today has that enduring legacy.
The Psychology Behind Fruit Machines
Besides the practical reason for bypassing legal restrictions, fruit symbols tap into certain psychological traits that make slot machines especially addicting. Humans are wired to respond to bright colors, sugar content, and the emotion of winning prizes.
Fruit attracts our attention with its vibrant hues. Sugar also activates reward centers in our brains. Images of juicy, sweet fruit trigger craving reactions when we play. This drives the urge to keep spinning for more fruity wins.
Enjoy Some Fruity Wins
Now that we have uncovered the fascinating history behind fruit symbols on slot machines, it’s time for you to join in on the fun! Start playing your favorite fruit-themed slots and enjoy the potential for some sweet wins.
With an array of bright and juicy fruit slot games, experience classic gameplay with vintage slots and fun modern features. Many online casinos offer fruit machine-style slots for desktop and mobile. With a little luck, you’ll be enjoying some fruity wins in no time!