Introduction to Fruit Reel Symbols
Why do slot machines use fruit reel symbols? To understand why this tradition came to be, we’ll have to delve into slot machine history. Slot machines are gambling devices. At first, they weren’t slot machines. Nor were they always fruit machines.
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Initially, slot machines were one-armed bandits. Later, in Great Britain, they became fruit machines. Why? Because pulling a handle activated it. That’s how you’d make a bet. Nowadays, of course, we can also push a button.
After entering coins, tokens, cash, or casino credits, making a bet happens. Subsequently, the player makes a bet, and the reels with symbols begin to spin. The reel symbols which are lined up along pay lines determine the payout, if any.
Fruit Reel Symbols
The Industry Novelty Company, run by O. D. Jennings, first used fruit reel symbols. This moment in history was when legal restrictions on slot machines were beginning. For example, San Francisco banned all 3,300 slot machines within the city in 1909.
To circumvent these new laws on cash-paying slot machines, manufacturers began turning their gambling devices into chewing gum dispensers. They did this by replacing card numbers and suits with fruit reel symbols.
After this change, the reels showed fruit symbols. As a result, any wins were various flavors of gum, as indicated by the winning fruit reel symbols.
Reel symbols are often traditional, including stars, bars, numbers, and various pictured fruits. Fruits can include cherries, plums, oranges, lemons, and watermelons.
Plus, every “bet” resulted in a win. Therefore, these machines stopped being betting machines and authentically became automatic vending machines.
A Bit More History
Before 1907, slot machines that paid out in coins had already existed for 20 years. Charles Fey of San Francisco invented coin-dispensing slot machines in April 1887.
Before 1887, slot machines were one-armed bandits. The game played was a form of poker. Winning combinations resulted in allowing the player free drinks or cigars.
These machines usually had five reels with ten cards per reel. This collection of reel symbols totaled 50 cards from the standard 52-card deck. The two cards excluded were the Ten of Spades and the Jack of Hearts.
For those readers that play poker, you’ll understand that leaving these two cards out of the deck halved the chance of receiving a Royal Flush. This jackpot was the big prize.
Summary of Fruit Reel Symbols
Starting in 1907, Industry Novelty began turning out Bell Fruit Gum slot machines. Another early slot machine manufacturer, Mills Novelty Company, began producing them in 1910. The reels on these slot machines included cherry, melon, orange, apple, and bar symbols with non-cash payouts in the form of fruit-flavored gum, allowing machine owners to avoid prosecution under anti-gambling laws.
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