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The story behind the inventors of the slot machine 

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Sometimes it’s good to have a little more information about your favorite hobby. When it comes to slots, since they are so simple to play (although a lot of fun), more insight is even better, as it will give you an added layer of intrigue to mobile casino sites. Read on, then, if you are keen to find out more about the story behind the inventors of the slot machine.

It all started in 1862 when Augustinius Charles Fey (who would later change his name to Charles) was born in Bavaria. At 15, he was supposed to join the military for his national service, but instead he ran away and he managed to get 750 miles away from home, ending up in England. He did it by walking, and it took many months. Along the way he took a number of different jobs, and in this time he learned some invaluable skills including engineering and mechanics. 

He stayed in England for a while making nautical instruments, but eventually he moved to the USA. His uncle lived in New Jersey and ran a business, and Charles was intending to join him there, but when he reached San Francisco he realized this would be his home instead. He joined the California Electric Works and settled down, getting married and having four children. 

As a hobby at home, Charles would make fun machines and games. As this hobby progressed, he realized he might be able to make some extra money for his family by selling these units, especially as he had seen how popular the ‘nickel in the slot’ machines were that were dotted around the local bars. He felt he could improve the way these games were made and played, so he set to work. 

At the same time, a man named Gustav Wilhelm Schultze had patented a machine called the Horseshoe. This was the very first patent granted to a gambling game. Charles saw this, and decided to use the Horseshoe as inspiration for his own game. With the help of a man named Holtz with whom he had worked at the California Electric Works, Charles created the 4-11-44 game. It gave out real coins, which was unheard of, and it was fully automated. 

Of course, Charles and Holtz’s invention couldn’t fail and it went on to be an instant hit. However, Charles decided he didn’t want to share his earnings with Holtz, so they parted ways. Charles then created the Liberty Bell, a variation on the 4-11-44, but one that was even more popular and is often cited as the very first slot machine. 

Interestingly, although Charles became very rich from his inventions, he never actually sold any of the machines. Instead he worked on a commission basis, taking a percentage of the money paid into the games. This meant that, rather than selling the machine and that being an end of it, he had created an ongoing income stream that set him up for life. Clearly the man was always destined to work in business.

Story by Lisa Smith