Slot machine reel symbols have been constant features since slot machines were invented many years ago. The most common of these symbols are the cherry symbols and the BAR symbol which have been seen on standard slot machine reels since 1909 and 1910. Initially, BAR was the company logo of a particular firm and it was a picture of a bubble gum pack that was eventually redesigned as a BAR. Depending on how many reels the machine has, the BAR symbol that secures the win could either be single or multiple.
History of the BAR Symbol in Slot Machines
In 1910, Herbert Stephen Mills of Mills Novelty Company rebranded the famous fruit reel symbols by adding the picture of a bubble gum pack. Eventually, it wasn’t just a combination of fruits and chewing gum packs, it was just a stylized bar. Some writers believe that the BAR symbol was the logo of a Bell-Gum Fruit company. Keep in mind that in the early 1900s, slot machines were illegal in the United States. At the time, slot machines were not called slot machines. They were called one-armed bandits and they were known for literally swallowing money and hardly paying out.
The bad reputation of slot machines and the ban that was placed on slot machines didn’t discourage people from using them at all costs. The government had to put in several measures to make sure people stopped using machines that promised users significant cash prizes as the payout. To make the slot machines more interesting for players who didn’t want to break the law, producers eventually added the fruits and bubble gum symbols to the reels. Rather than getting cash payouts, the machines were set to pay out noncash prizes.
The Bell-Fruit Gum company was among the many companies that started taking advantage of this innovation. The company logo was added to almost every slot machine that was produced at the time and it looked just like a BAR. Rather than serve as a slot machine, these machines were seen as vending machines because the pictures and logos of bubble gum companies were added to the side of every machine. There is still a lot of controversy regarding the real name of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company but whatever the case may be, it is one of the most common origin stories of the BAR symbol.
There is another theory that Mills Novelty Company partnered with the Bell-Fruit Gum Company to use their logo on their slot machines. Eventually, the Mills Novelty Company started creating slot machines with wood instead of iron. This company was also responsible for inventing the slot machine jackpot. When the same symbol appears three times or a certain combination of symbols appear at the same time on the reels, the player would hit the jackpot and win big. All the coins in the machine will be paid out to the player.
What’s The Difference Between Slot Machine Symbols And Icons?
Every slot machine has a rich combination of symbols and icons. Both terms are used for two different things even if some individuals tend to interchange them. All slot machines have pay tables and reels. It is on these reels and pay tables that slot symbols appear. During each spin, different symbols spin around the reels. When the reels stop spinning, the outcome of the game is determined by the last symbols that are displayed on the reels. If you want to learn what each symbol will fetch you, you should study the paytable. All the details about the symbols are displayed on the paytable. You’ll know which combinations you need to hit the jackpot or win any amount at all.
The first-ever game machine symbol was created by Charles Fey in 1895 and it was the symbol of a playing card. The symbol was used for a machine that is similar to the slot machine but was meant for poker. Different card symbols were created for these machines at the time. Many slot machines today still use card symbols. Fey also created the liberty bell symbol and horseshoe symbols.
The icon is the logo of the slot machine. It is usually designed based on the theme and name of the game. For example, if the name of a slot machine is Wheel of Fortune, the icon would be a wheel. If the title of the game is Gods of Egypt, the icon can be a picture of Anubis or any other mythical creature in Egypt. The icon usually appears next to the name of the game. Most games have more than one icon but all of them are based on the theme of the machine. An icon is to a slot machine what a book cover is to a book. It is the manufacturer’s way of branding the slot machine so it can stand out from others in the market.
Types of Slot Symbols
We’ve mentioned a few of the most common slot symbols out there. However, there are so many others and different manufacturers are still coming up with unique slot machine symbols to make the game more interesting to players. We can’t talk about every symbol out there but we can talk about the most common categories of slot symbols. Some of the most common are as follows;
- Fruit Slot Machine Symbols
After the card symbols, the fruit symbols are the oldest slot machine symbols in the United States. The most common fruit symbols and the first to be created were grapes, cherries, melons, lemons, and oranges. Machines that displayed these symbols are called fruit slot machines. Some of these machines paid people fruit gums instead of cash as stated earlier. When players saw lemons on the slot reels, they will be paid in lemon-flavored gums. If the reels displayed oranges, they would be paid in orange-flavored gums. The number of gums players got depended on the combination. The higher the winning combination, the more gums players would get. These sorts of slot machines have been discontinued. Now, fruit slot machines payout cash prizes like other slot machines. You can get bubble gums from your regular vending machines or chewing gum dispenser.
- Standard Reel Slot Symbols
The standard reel symbols include but are not limited to symbols of Tens, Kings, Aces, Jacks, and Queens. They are as old as the slot machines themselves. The classic slots of old still come with these standard symbols but the more modern slots like the video slot machines come with so many new and beautiful symbols.
- Bonus Symbols
Every modern slot machine comes with bonus symbols which give players numerous bonus amounts each time they appear on the reels.
- Scatter Symbols
You’ll also see the scatter symbols which can either pay your regular amount or give you your regular amount along with a bonus.
- Wild Symbols
Let’s not forget about the wild symbols that are of different types and typically represent a winning combination. Having a wild symbol or two along with another symbol can give you a winning combination. Wild symbols in slot machines can be compared to wild cards in card games.
These are just the major categories of slot symbols that you should expect to see in a typical slot machine. Each machine has subcategories and designs that represent their theme. With the production of new slot machines, it is a surprise that classic symbols are still in existence today. There are still many regular players who would rather not play a slot machine game than play a game without classic slots. These are the people that keep the tradition going and help them retain their relevance.
Whether it is the BAR symbol, card symbol or any other symbol listed above, you cannot talk about the origin of slot machines without talking about slot machine symbols. Slot machines are here to stay. To make things even more exciting, you can play a slot game with your computer or mobile device when you don’t have the time to visit a landbased casino. The creation of online slot machines has only helped in promoting and maintaining this game that has become a crucial part of the gambling culture. As a final note of caution, you must gamble responsibly. You may not need a lot of money to play a single slot game but the amount can pile up quickly. To minimize losses while playing slot games, go for machines that offer unconditional free spins. This will help you save money. Most importantly, make sure you play within your budget no matter how interesting it is.