A SWABIAN SUCCESS STORY
Slots are part of the American way of life like individualism and love of freedom. What hardly anyone knows is that one of their fathers was a German, even (Bavarian) Swabian. Charles August Fey, an emigrant born in Vöhringen near Ulm, developed the famous "Liberty Bell" in San Francisco in 1899, which is regarded as the first machine with a three-roller system. For the clever inventor himself, however, this one-armed bandit by no means proved to be the main prize. Unfortunately, he was never able to secure the patent rights to the device.
Before Fey's breakthrough, the slot machine game had a niche existence, but it experienced a huge upswing afterwards. In 1910, the deliberately innocent motifs of cherries and strawberries found their way onto the rollers of the machines. Just over ten years later, the first wooden slot machines were built. As they were much easier to transport than their heavy iron predecessors, they soon spread to Europe. Here as on the other side of the Atlantic, not only their number but also their diversity increased over the years.
Today, classic slot machines are protected species. Of course, digitisation has not stopped at gambling machines either. One thing, however, has not changed to this day, despite all the technical progress: Fortune alone decides who wins.