Charles Fey invented the very first mechanical reels slot machine in 1895 named Liberty Bell Slots. Initially a car mechanic, Fey created the basic 3-reel slot machine that had ten symbols on every reel with diamonds, hearts or spades on them and a Liberty Bell.
The machine consisted of cast iron and was quite easy to use. Played who got 3 Liberty Bells lined up got a 50-cent payout - the very first out there. Even though machines that were called games of luck already existed, they never actually got to award real payouts in the end.
Because of the laws back then, Fey couldn't patent his own machine and ended up renting it to local pubs and saloons for 50% commission. Plus, he put symbols on them to get gum or free drinks to avoid the laws of gambling that made gambling machines illegal.
As more time went by, operators came across problems where played cheated the machine with fake coins. To stop this, Fey made the very first pin of detection, which could distinguish actual coins from fake ones. His machine was a huge hit and he soon came across demand and supply problems. Other big companies came up to him to buy the manufacturing rights of his machine, but Fey refused to sell. Eventually, Herbert Mills produced a replica that used fruit symbols instead of the Liberty Bell and had twenty symbols on every reel.
Soon, Charles Fey had his own store in Nevada, which offers up a restaurant and a slots museum on the next floor. The museum had the original slot machine in it and a collection of hundreds of other antique machines. After his death, Fey's grandsons got a hold of the business and closed the place in 1995. That original machine can still be found in a Nevada museum today, but is no longer playable.