Argentine Brass Maxim: A Machine Gun of the Steampunk Age

The Maxim Gun was the first successful true machine gun, and it became extremely popular worldwide. Maxim sent his first two working models to Enfield for testing in 1887, and by 1889 he had what he termed the “World Standard” model. No two contracts were quite identical, as the gun was constantly being tweaked and improved, but the 200 guns sold to Argentina in 1895 (50), 1898 (130) and 1902 (20) are a great time capsule into the configuration of the early Maxim guns in military service.

The Argentine Maxims had gorgeous brass jackets, along with ball grips, triggers, feed blocks, and fusee spring covers. The have the early 1889 pattern lock, complete with a walnut roller to assist belt feeding into the action. These guns were in Argentine military service until 1929 (which included a retrofit at DWM in 1909 to use the new Spitzer 7.65mm Mauser cartridge). They then passed into police use until 1956, and 91 were sold to Sam Cummings of InterArms in 1960. Of those, 8 were exported out of the US, 28 went to government agencies and museums, and the remaining 55 were sold onto the US collector market. They are the single largest group of early Maxims in the country today, and make fantastic collectors’ pieces.


  1. If you wish to read description of Maxim and some other from that era see The Romance of Modern Invention by Archibald Williams available at starting at Intermediate between hand-borne weapons and artillery, and partaking of the nature of both, come the machine-guns firing small projectiles with extraordinary rapidity.

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