Maxim, Sir Hiram

Maxim, Sir Hiram

▪ American inventor
born Feb. 5, 1840, Sangerville, Maine, U.S.
died Nov. 24, 1916, London, Eng.

      prolific inventor best known for the Maxim machine gun.

      The eldest son of a farmer who was a locally notable mechanic, Maxim was apprenticed at 14 to a carriage maker. Exhibiting an early genius for invention, he obtained his first patent in 1866, for a hair-curling iron. His iron was followed by a device for generating illuminating gas and a locomotive headlight; in 1878 he was hired as chief engineer of the United States Electric Lighting Company, the first such company in the United States. In that post he produced a basic invention, a method of manufacturing carbon filaments. In 1881 he exhibited an electric pressure regulator at the Paris Exposition.

      His interest in the problem of automatic weapons led him to settle in London, where in 1884 he produced the first satisfactory fully automatic machine gun, employing the recoil of the barrel for ejecting the spent cartridges and reloading the chamber. To improve its efficiency, he developed his own smokeless powder, cordite. Within a few years every army was equipped with Maxim guns or adaptations.

      In the 1890s Maxim experimented with airplanes (airplane), producing one powered by a light steam engine that successfully rose from the ground; he recognized that the real solution to flight was the internal-combustion engine but did not attempt to develop it. His hundreds of patents in the United States and Great Britain included a mousetrap, an automatic sprinkling system, an automatic steam-powered water pump, vacuum pumps, engine governors, and gas motors.

      His Maxim Gun Company, founded in 1884, was later absorbed into Vickers, Ltd., of which he became a director. In 1900 he became a naturalized British subject, and in 1901 he was knighted by Queen Victoria.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Maxim,Sir Hiram Stevens — Max·im (măkʹsĭm), Sir Hiram Stevens. 1840 1916. American born British inventor of an automatic, recoil operated machine gun (1884), which was widely used during World War I. His brother Hudson (1853 1927) invented smokeless gun powder, and his… …   Universalium

  • Maxim, Sir Hiram (Stevens) — born Feb. 5, 1840, Sangerville, Maine, U.S. died Nov. 24, 1916, London, Eng. U.S. British inventor. Son of a Maine farmer, he was apprenticed to a carriage maker. He became chief engineer of the U.S. Electric Lighting Co. (1878–81), for which he… …   Universalium

  • Maxim, Sir Hiram (Stevens) — (5 feb. 1840, Sangerville, Maine, EE.UU.–24 nov. 1916, Londres, Inglaterra). Inventor británico nacido en EE.UU. Hijo de un granjero de Maine, fue colocado como aprendiz de un fabricante de carruajes. Llegó a ser ingeniero jefe de U.S. Electric… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim — noun English inventor (born in the United States) who invented the Maxim gun that was used in World War I (1840 1916) • Syn: ↑Maxim • Instance Hypernyms: ↑inventor, ↑discoverer, ↑artificer …   Useful english dictionary

  • Maxim Gun —    , MAXIM SILENCER    There were three Maxims, all inventors. The elder Maxim, Sir Hiram Stevens (1840 1916), was born near Sangerville, Maine. He moved to England and became a naturalized British citizen. Between the years 1881 and 1884, he… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • Hiram Stevens Maxim — This article is about Hiram Stevens Maxim. For his son, automotive pioneer and co founder of the ARRL, see Hiram Percy Maxim. Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim Born February 5, 1840(1840 02 05) Sangerville, Maine …   Wikipedia

  • Hiram — /huy reuhm/, n. 1. a king of Tyre in the 10th century B.C. I Kings 5. 2. a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning noble. * * * (as used in expressions) Hiram Ulysses Grant Maxim Sir Hiram Stevens Powers Hiram Revels Hiram Rhoades Hiram King… …   Universalium

  • Hiram — (as used in expressions) Hiram Ulysses Grant Maxim, Sir Hiram (Stevens) Powers, Hiram Revels, Hiram R(hoades) Hiram King Williams …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • Maxim gun — An early Maxim gun in operation with the Royal Navy Type Heavy Machine Gun Place of origin …   Wikipedia

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