It's referenced many times on the internet, mostly by websites connected with modern gambling, but also general sites, and a few printed books, which cover the history and origin of fruit machines.
Wikipedia's 'Slot Machine' page tells us that, "The BAR symbol now common in slot machines was derived from an early logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company." It has a link to a page on said company, but this is a cul-de-sac. So what more can we discover? Here are some key "facts" I was able to glean from a google search of "Bell-Fruit Gum Company", which returned over 2000 results.
The Bell-Fruit Gum Company was a big player, and the modern bar symbol is a variant of their logo.
Also the symbol BAR, that is henceforth enough known and connected with slots came from the logo of the company that manufactured chewing gums, Bell-Fruit Gum Company
The Bell-Fruit Gum Company stole Charles Fey's original concept of money slot machines and created a slot machine lookalike that dispensed bubble gum.
The next stage in the slot machine history was the introduction of Fruit Machines which happened after co-operation with the Bell-Fruit Gum Company in 1912. The card symbols on the reels were replaced by fruit images
Herbert Mills of Chicago created his own machine, called the Operator Bell. Later, his company would merge with a gum manufacturer to become the Bell-Fruit Gum Company.
The Bell-Fruit Gum Company based in Chicago, begun manufacturing slot machines who offers gum as payment. The symbols were changed and replaced for fruits: cherries, melons and BAR symbols. The word BAR was originally the logo of Bell-Fruit Gum Company and thanks to marketing efforts of that company, this symbol still appears nowadays on slot machines.
These new symbols came about due to a cooperation between the manufacturer and the Bell-Fruit Gum Company in 1912. The extra thing here was the BAR, which resembled the fruit gum company’s logo. Payouts were made in gum.
So there you have it. The major Chicago-based Bell-Fruit Gum Company were pioneer manufacturers of chewing gum and fruit machines before taking over Mills Novelty Co.Ever wondered why so many fruit machines have the BAR symbol? Very early models of fruit machines (pre and early 1900s) would give out winnings in the form of fruit flavoured chewing gum which had pictures of the flavours matching the fruit symbols on the reels. The BAR symbol is in fact an early logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company. The payment of food prizes like this meant that establishments could avoid laws against gambling (i.e. the payout was not in money).
Amazing what you can learn on the internet.
Anyone seen one of these early Bell-Fruit Gum Co. slot machines which paid out food prizes? Or a Bell-Fruit chewing gum wrapper?