Slot Machine Symbols Today: From Liberty Bells to Bonus Symbols


Posted: July 30, 2020

Updated: July 30, 2020

  • Slot machines used to have 20 symbols per reel
  • Online slots still feature iconic slot machine symbols

With more and more slots coming out every day, there should have been an infinite number of slot machine symbols today. However, have you ever noticed that some symbols haven’t changed much? Liberty Bell, Horse Shoe, fruits, and cards – all of these symbols have a long history behind them. 

Slot machine symbols how we know them today

Slot machine symbols, as we know them today, originate from the end of the 19th century, when the first mechanized versions of poker revolutionized the gambling industry. The three-reel slot machines, designed by Charles Augustus Fey, soon became very popular among poker enthusiasts. At that time, payouts were based on poker combinations made from 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces. besides, symbols as a Horseshoe and Liberty Bell were also present at one-armed bandits of that time. You can find more on that in this article about the history and evolution of slot machines.

However, as the machines only contained poker-related symbols, people who weren’t familiar with the game couldn’t understand the combinations. Therefore, the slot machine manufacturers decided to expand the target audience and add new symbols. This resulted in more people interested in gambling, which brings us to the next step in the evolution of slot machines.

Fruit machines – how fruit symbols helped to avoid gambling restrictions

At the beginning of the 20th century, the US government introduced new restrictions on table games and gambling. And as slot machines with card symbols also fell into that category, most of them were banned. However, slot machine manufacturers and casino owners found a way out of this situation. In 1912, such symbols like cherries, plums, and berries started to appear on slot machines. Even today, you can still find online slots that feature symbols from the 20th-century fruit machines.

Slot Machine Symbols Today
Let’s spin!

In addition to fruits and berries, there was one more symbol that started to appear on fruit machine reels. Bell-Fruit Gum Company, which was one of the biggest slot machine manufacturers at that time, introduced the bar symbol. The bar not only stood for the company’s logo but also aimed at advertising their new product. And as monetary prizes were forbidden, the company ended up giving away their gums.

All you need to know about online slot machine symbols

Nowadays, slot machines usually have 5 reels and the time they stop is determined by the Random Number Generator (RNG). Moreover, as the manufacturers increased the number of reels, they also created special symbols. Overall, there are 3 main categories of online slot machine symbols today – standard, wild, and scatter symbols. Standard symbols stand for old-fashioned symbols like fruits, Liberty Bells, and bars. They don’t serve any specific purpose, but if you hit 3 to 5 of them, you will get a payout. On the other hand, wild symbols

represent “place-holders” that can stand for any missing symbol. These symbols make it easier to hit combinations on online casino sites in the US. Finally, scatter symbols allow players to win special bonuses like free spins. These symbols don’t affect your winnings, but they give you a chance to spin the reels for free up to 15 times.


Since the card symbols and fruit machines, slot machine symbols have come a long way. Today, online gambling sites in the US offer a huge variety of themed slots with different symbols. Each player can find something they like – from Star Wars Slots to Ancient Egypt-themed games. For example, if you are a slot enthusiast, try checking out  CyberSpins Casino. CyberSpins specializes in all kinds of slot games and offers great bonuses.

You can discover more about CyberSpins Casino here.

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