Sunday, July 3, 2011

Benjamin Hotchkiss

Born in Watertown, Connecticut, in 1826, Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss became a skilled designer in the family's engineering business, working on new weapons designs. When he failed to interest the US Government, he moved to France and set up the Hotchkiss Company in 1867.

Hotchkiss began producing weapons and explosives for the French armed forces at his factory near Paris. After his death in 1885, work continued, and the first working model of an automatic machine gun was produced by 1892.

In 1897 it was adopted by the French Army. A series of improvements and modifications followed, and by 1914 the definitive Hotchkiss gun had been created. Reliable and simple, it became one of the standard gas-operated heavy machine-gun designs to be adopted for use by the British, French and Japanese armies during World War I.

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