The original BAR symbol on a slot machine was just a logo of a specific company and it was a pack of bubble gum. Years later, this bubble gum pack was redesigned to become the BAR symbol that we are all familiar with today.
Many of the early slot machines featured the BAR symbol and variations were created. There was a single BAR which was common and later there were double, triple, and even more BARs in one symbol. Usually, the more BARs in the symbol, the higher the payout would be.
How it all started with the BAR symbol and slot machines
The first BAR symbol appeared in a slot machine back in 1910. An initial bubble gum pack BAR symbol was designed by Herbert Stephen Mills who was an employee at the Mills Novelty Company. Things changed after a while and the bubble gum pack symbol became a stylized BAR.
A lot of people believe that the BAR was a logo of the Fruit Company, Bell-Gum. This has never been proved and you need to bear in mind that in the early 1900’s slot machines were illegal in America so no company is going to claim ownership!
People used to call slot machines “one arm bandits” in those days. The machines had a very bad reputation for hardly paying out so players always felt that they were being robbed when they used the machines. These days, online slot machines are a lot fairer such as no verification slots.
Despite these early slot machines having a poor reputation and the government declaring them illegal, it did not prevent people playing them. This resulted in the government having to create new laws banning slot machines that promised players large cash prizes.
The manufacturers of the slot machines didn’t want to break the law so they changed the machines to pay out prizes that were not cash (for example packs of bubble gum). They added bubble gum and fruit symbols to the reels to make the machines appear less threatening.
Among the companies that took advantage of this change was the fruit company Bell-Gum. They decided to add their logo which was similar to a BAR to “vending machines” rather than slot machines (was there really a difference?). This is why a lot of people believe that the BAR symbol originated from Bell-Gum.
An alternative theory is that there was a partnership between the Bell-Gum company and the Mills Novelty company where the Bell-Gum logo was used on the slot machines Mills Novelty created. Mills Novelty were innovators in the world of slot machines. They manufactured the first slot machine to be made from wood and not iron and they invented the “jackpot”.
Different types of slot symbols
Over the years, there has been an increase in the types of slot symbols. People tend to play slots online these days and the software companies are always coming up with new unique symbols to make their slots more interesting.
Fruit symbols are found on classic slot games. They have been used on slots for a very long time and include oranges, lemons, melons, cherries, and grapes. In some countries like the UK, slot machines with fruit symbols were so popular that they were called “fruit machines”.
Another very popular symbol used for slot machines is the playing card. The very first slot machines had playing card symbols on them. With modern online slots you will often see the ace, king, queen, ten, and even nine used. You will sometimes see these referred to as “royal” symbols.
With many online slot games there is a “wild” symbol that will substitute for a conventional symbol to create a winning combination. The wild symbol could be anything from the logo of slot to a symbol that just has “wild” on it.
Also, with online slots it is common to see a scatter symbol used. The scatter symbol is usually the route to the bonus features of the slot such as free spins. Usually, the player needs to land three or more scatter symbols on their reels to enter the bonus round.