It may have been his father’s total deafness from years of demonstrating the Maxim Gun that led Hiram Percy Maxim to develop the first successful rifle suppressor, or maybe firearms were was just in his blood. Either way, the Maxim Silencer was a major achievement, allowing one to shoot without disturbing neighbors or onlookers.
We have a copy of an original sales brochure for the Maxim, and I feel I should point out the pricing. This catalog is from the 1920s, and lists a silencer with muzzle attachment at $7.00 (or $8.50 for an genuine mil-spec 1903 Springfield silencer). Ten years later the feds – Constitutionally unable to ban them – would impose a $200 tax on suppressors as a backdoor prohibition. It’s only through an accidental side effect of inflation that the tax has gone from 2800% of their retail value down to about 25%. There is to this day no reason to maintain restrictions on suppressors – the original motives were media hooplah about gangsters and unemployed starving poachers during the Great Depression.
You can find the Maxim Silencer brochure on the Maxim Silencer page in the Vault, along with Maxim’s patent.