General vintage slot machine related topics.
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coppinpr
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby coppinpr » Sun May 15, 2016 11:00 pm

While we are discussing this subject it might be informative to see what people think of the values of slot symbols and the reasons why they were chosen for each value. Bars are always the top payout, bells always rank high, "7s" are often a special payout, cherries are always low and lemons are (on all major makers' machines) always a loser. The lemon surely comes from the American term for a lemon being something bad (especially used to describe a dodgy car in the '30s, '40s and '50s. The bell is of course linked with certain makers and thus rates as a high payout to put their machine in to your mind when you get a high payout. 7s are surely dice related as craps is based around the fact that the two opposing faces on a dice add up to 7, plums were, I believe, a latecomer to reel strips, as were melons, but why cherries always low, because they look good on the reel and there are usually more of them to each reel? Why no apples on American machines, yet they crop up (NO PUN INTENDED) on UK and German machines?

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john t peterson
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby john t peterson » Sun May 15, 2016 11:26 pm

If we were going with national identity, Americans would have turkeys on our reels. Oh wait…we might just have one as our President in November!!! :!:

J Peterson
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pennymachines
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby pennymachines » Mon May 16, 2016 12:37 am

13rebel wrote:It seems quite incredible that this ruse would appease the authorities. When did they stop making machines that vended gum? - when restrictions relaxed or perhaps when the ruse was sussed?
Like you, my first thought was that this would be unlikely to convince a lawyer. But sure enough, like the electric shock, and 'future pay', it had its day in court and, in this instance, it won!
OKVend.gif
THE COURT INDEX
Official Paper of the Hamilton County Courts
A Sufficient Medium for the Publication of Legal Advertisements
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
Vol. XXI CINCINNATI, O., FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 1912, No. 10
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
"Automatic Salesman" Distinguished from
Gambling Device"

Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. Michael J. Steffen;
heard in the court of A. J. Maschinot, Justice of the
Peace, Fourth Magisterial District, Campbell County,
Kentucky: decided October 8, 1912.

The sole question of determination in this prosecu-
tion is whether or not the operation, at defendant's saloon,
in Fort Thomas, of what is known as a "Mills O.K.
Gum Vender" comes within the statute (Sec. 1964) against
"suffering game on premises."

Under these authorities (none being cited to the con-
trary) the court is constrained to hold that the machine
operated on defendant's premises is nothing more or
less than an automatic salesman, and does not come
within provisions of the law against gambling.

The defendant is therefore dismissed.

A. M. Caldwel, County Attorney for plaintiff; Cogan,
Williams & Ragland contra.
Supreme Court of Canada
APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Harvey, C. J., Scott, Beck and Walsh, J.J.
REX v. STUBBS
Criminal Law-Unlawful Gaming-Common Gaming House
-Automatic Gum Machine-Criminal Code SS 228,986.
Statutes-Construction-Criminal Matter

Held, that an automatic gum machine which informs the oper-
ator before placing his money into the machine what the
result of his operation will be, is not a gambling machine.
Each operation of such machine is in itself a game and the
fact that the operator may receive something more than an ade-
quate return for his money does not introduce the ele-
ment of chance.
In criminal cases a judge has no power to construe the law
otherwise than according to the letter.
This would have confused the issue enough to make it worth attaching the feature for many years, particularly in locations where authorities were apt to take action.

At the start of the 20th Century, gambling was illegal in most of America (as it was in the UK), but the laws, and the degree to which they were enforced, varied from state to state and over the ensuing decades. Makers of gambling machines could therefore shift and adapt their product where conditions were most favourable, in a way that was never possible in the UK. The crack down on organized crime, prohibition and the financial crash of 1929 were major factors in how this played out. Here's a good source on the History of Gambling in the US

13rebel
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby 13rebel » Mon May 16, 2016 3:07 pm

Great, thanks Mr PM :D

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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby pennymachines » Wed May 18, 2016 4:16 pm

coppinpr wrote:While we are discussing this subject it might be informative to see what people think of the values of slot symbols and the reasons why they were chosen for each value.
The 'Bell' as a high payout symbol stems directly from Fey's choice of the Liberty Bell for his original one arm bandit. By cleverly associating this symbol of American independence and freedom with his device, he lent it an air of patriotic legitimacy. Its dual use as name for the machine and payout symbol was potent enough to see it carried over. A "bell" became common parlance for a three reeler and the graphic still represents a winning reel position.

The 'Bar' came later, with the arrival of the jackpot. To distinguish its elevated status, it needed a different character and shape. It was therefore not a fruit, but monochrome text across the full width of the reel. It couldn't say "JACKPOT" for two reasons: players might reasonably expect a payout when only one came up; more to the point, it had to be something that didn't loudly announce the gambling intent. BELL-FRUIT-GUM served that purpose nicely.

The '7' as you say, was already recognized as a good number from dice games. It is also has special status as a lucky number in biblical and other religious traditions, as well as numerology, astrology, folklore, etc. http://www.britannica.com/topic/number-symbolism

I vaguely thought the use of the lemon as a lose symbol on slot machines might have been where its association with something bad or unwanted (particularly auto-mobiles) originated. But I see it was already used in this way just before fruit reels appeared:
A pool hall hustle was called a lemon game (1908); while to hand someone a lemon was British slang (1906) for "to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one."
http://www.etymonline.com
A more obvious logic might be that, of all the edible fruits, it's probably the one you wouldn't want to eat whole.

As for the low scoring cherries - who knows? A popular gum flavour, so you would expect more of them? Their colour and shape makes them stand out, and as you say, they predominate over the other symbols. Because frequent small payouts maintain player interest, and you only need two, on reels 1 & 2, to guarantee a payout, they make the reels more "attractive" I guess. They're really just the cherry on the cake. !?!

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operator bell
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby operator bell » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:20 am

Just about all the claims about the Bell Fruit Gum co in the top post are wrong. There never was a bell fruit gum company, nor for that matter a Bell Fruit company until one was started up in England in the 1960s.*

Mills started putting a chewing gum vendor on the side of their machines around 1910 as a legal workaround - at that time they had a spearmint symbol, not a bar. Then they changed to a Bell Fruit gum wrapper, birth of the bar. They found, though, that hardly anyone bothered to take a stick of gum, and the gum went hard and nasty after a while, so they switched to gum balls instead.

* Edit: I wasn't quite correct. Bell Fruit Corporation of Reno was formed in 1957 by Lou Benetti and Lane Fleischer, who had acquired Watling's tools and dies, but it never made a machine. They were never able to raise the capital to get started, so they sold their cabinet designs to Mills and looked for a buyer for the tooling. Britain had just legalized gambling and so with the assistance of "friends of friends of friends" the tooling was shipped to France, then to Eire, then smuggled across the border into Northern Ireland (avoiding 40% duty) and eventually, after many failed deals and adventures, to Nottingham, where Bell Fruit Manufacturing Ltd was founded in 1963. Lane Fleischer was one of the directors.

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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby fjeckell » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:04 pm

As a matter of interesting and hopefully somewhat related information I am posting this little tidbit. In 1967 I formed a rock band called The 1910 Fruitgum Company. In 1968 we scored a top ten hit pop record in the US, the UK and Italy. The record was titled Simon Says. We are still active to this very day and in fact performed in a show last night which was 24 March 2018. For more information about the band please visit our website at 1910fruitgumcompany.com

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operator bell
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby operator bell » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:55 pm

Frank - delighted to meet you! I well remember your song. I remember dancing to it at "The Ship" disco in Dymchurch the night I had sex for the first time with the girl who became my wife. That was a good song to be remembered for (and a good thing for me to remember it by).

But I never connected the name of the band with the Mills bar. Thanks for the explanation.

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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby badpenny » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:43 pm

Hi Frank, welcome on board.
I too recall you and the band, the songs also are clear in my memory, sadly unlike my fellow slot collector I didn't have sex.

BP

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dutchboy
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Re: Bell-Fruit Gum Company: Fact or Fiction?

Postby dutchboy » Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:56 am

I think operator bell was the good looking guy..... !!ESCAPE!!


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