Guest Article: Will Victorian Era Gambling come back around?

An early (Steampunk era) Fruit Machine
An early (Steampunk era) Fruit Machine

(I had the pleasure of the kind offer regarding “Fruit Machines” – a topic had had been frankly quite lacking in knowledge!  Mr. M. Newman, a professional in the field, kindly offered a brief tutorial regarding the topic…)

In a day and age where our every trivial need can be met via some type of mobile device, its hard to imagine going back to a time with only 100 channels on the television or no slim-fitting cell phone in your pocket. Much harder to imagine would be going back even further, forgetting about the Twitters and Facebooks and internet casinos and thousands of HD movie channels.
Going back to a time where books and, heaven forbid, going outside were among your entertainment options seems too much for some to take in.

Fruit Machine
(Detail of the above “Fruit Machine” … make sure to use “Old pennies”!)

Things long since out of style come back in often enough with a fury. Take the Victorian Era-inspired steampunk genre as a great example of the past being used in a vision of the future. The industrial look and feel of the genre has caught on around the globe and many of the eras classic offerings have been revamped through the movement.

How about the gambling games and equipment of the time can we expect to see that make a comeback with some new steampunk touches?

Simeona Fruit Machine, circa 1900

The fruit machines started to make their way throughout Britain at around the tail end of the Victorian Era. Although they caught on very rapidly, and the basic premise of their functionality hasnt changed very much from the days of the first one-armed bandits to todays online slots, asking the gambling world to play on an aged machine would be asking a lot.

There is a niche for the classic fruit machines of old, but theyre usually collected and not necessarily played on for entertainment purposes. However, a row of steampunked fruit machines on the casino floor would definitely be a unique touch.

With most of the gambling of that era, such as card games, roulette and dice games, the classics are still with us, pretty much left unchanged save a few table improvements. So if old-school gambling were to be revamped, it would definitely be with the fruit machines.

A Mills Fruit Machine, circa 1930s’ (a bit beyond Steampunk, but again, the basics hold the same style!)

Why bring it up in the first place? If youve ever visited a casino, either land-based or online, youve undoubtedly seen just how elaborate slots are becoming. You have online slots machines playing movie clips, customizable slots allowing you to choose your characters, and many other options.

How cool would it be to ditch these streamlined machines and play on a big hunk of black and gold steel that shoots out steam when you pull the handle? Yeah, it would definitely rock. Just some musings, of course but it would be awesome to punk up some old fruit machines.

(My thanks to Mr. Martin Newman, from Casino Top 10, for his work on this article regarding Steampunk era “Fruit Machines”!  For more details regarding his endeavor, do pay a visit to his site,, for more information)!