Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hiram S. Maxim

Born in Sangersville, Maine, USA in 1840, Hiram Maxim became a coachbuilder in an engineering works in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. When he was 26, he obtained the first of many patents for a hair-curling iron. This was rapidly followed by a machine for producing illuminating gas and a locomotive headlamp.

Maxim was employed by the United States Electric Lighting Company as chief engineer and designed a method of producing carbon filaments. At the Paris Electrical Exhibition in 1881 he found the inspiration to develop a machine gun. Maxim moved to London, and in 1884 produced the first working model of an automatic portable machine gun. His Maxim Gun Company, founded the same year, was later absorbed into Vickers, Ltd and he became a director. Maxim was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1901.

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