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Things will never be the same, due to a machinist by the name of Charles Fey.
In 1887, In San Francisco, California, Mr. Fey invented the nickel-operated “one- armed-bandit”. However, Charles Fey could not produce these little gold mines fast enough in his little workshop. Everyone caught wind of the spinning reels and yearned to pull the lever, too! Thus, many other manufacturers begged for distribution rights, but were continued to be steadfastedly refused.
As a consequence, in 1907, Herbert Stephen Mills, (who possessed arcade game manufacturing experience) produced a similar machine to Fey’s. Mill’s Machine was named the “Operator’s Bell”.
It doesn’t end here as far as Mr. Fey’s ingenuity goes. In 1929, Charles Fey built America’s first silver dollar-operated slot machine.
By 1910, slot machines started to spring up everywhere. With the steady growth of the lowly slot machine came corruption and racketeering, co-existing with legal machines and legitimate business persons.
Slot machines during the 1930’s had a routine payout percentage of 50 percent, when they weren’t tampered with or “bugged”. This is how the famous legend of the “one-armed –bandit” came to be.
Two unsavory Midwestern bandits were unknowingly playing a “bugged” machine. One of them complained after a series of losses: “You sure don’t need to hold up anyone, not if you own a couple of machines like this.” The other retorted: “Yeah……and this bandit has only one arm.”