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What exactly is a fruit machine?

2018-05-05 09:00:00

In a nutshell, a Fruit Machine is a British informal term for a way of describing a slot machine. The term mainly comes from the traditional fruit images that are displayed on spinning reels, such as lemons, plums, and cherries. Fruit machines have a variety of other names they are known by, such as Puggies in Scotland and Pokies in Australia to simply Slot in America.

The first Fruit Machine

The first ever fruit machines appeared in America in the early 20th Century. Precisely when and where nobody really knows but these devices were quite primitive and were known as Trade Simulators. These early machines actually gave out packs of chewing gum whenever you had a win. For instance, if you landed 3 cherries then a packet of cherry-flavoured gum was all yours! Why chewing gum you ask? It was a very clever way for companies to offer these as rewards in order to avoid any anti-gambling laws that existed in America at the time. O.D. Jennings who ran the company who made these machine actually called them “chewing gum dispensers”!

The Liberty Bell

These “chewing gum dispensers” were based on Charles Fey’s hugely successful Liberty Bell slot machine which was released between 1887 and 1895. This machine consisted of three spinning reels with five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, hearts, spades and liberty bells. The bell symbol gave the machine its name of course and this symbol is still extremely popular as it is widely used in a lot of slots these days. Fey's next machine was called the Operator Bell and this was the first machine to incorporate fruit symbols and thus the fruit machine was born!