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Best Forgotten San Francisco Inventor 

Charles August Fey

Maybe you've noticed the stone marker that proclaims "Original Slot Machine" near where Market, Battery, and Bush streets intersect. Welcome to the city's lone nod to the man who has been called the Thomas Edison of slot machines. It marks the spot near where, in 1894, German immigrant Fey began developing various coin-operated gaming devices at his Market Street workshop, including the Liberty Bell — the first three-reel bell slot machine, whose basic design is still in. Although ignored in the town where it all began, Fey's work is — perhaps not surprisingly — lionized in Nevada. "The Fey Collection," an exhibit featuring two dozen of the ex-mechanic's famous slots, just ended a year-long run at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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