19 Comments

  1. I’ve seen this on an article written by the USMC during the fifties. It documents the history of machine guns from the manually operated concepts to the airplane-mounted autocannons… Much was said about Maxim’s many talents prior to the arms industry, including a special paint that could turn a plaster wall into a chalk board. Sadly for the paint, the schools never paid Maxim on the premise that he had only used 50 cents of materials and that his fee of six dollars was too much for just half a dollar’s worth of paint and labor (offensive, isn’t it?).

    • “many talents”
      Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim is interesting person:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_Maxim
      Despite now mainly known for his machine gun he also experimented with flying machines, electricity and other things. Link above states that Maxim developed machine gun after one man said to him: “Hang your chemistry and electricity! If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each others’ throats with greater facility.”

        • Maxim was required to state his religion in order to stay in Imperial Russia, even though he was practically an atheist. He decided to be registered as a Protestant by recommendation of a friend.

          “Put me down as a Protestant. I am a Protestant among Protestants. I protest against this whole thing.”

          • “he was practically an atheist”
            Maxim is also author of “Li Hung Chang’s Scrapbook” which explains “how it was possible for people who are able to build locomotives and steamships to have a religion based on a belief in devils, ghosts, impossible miracles, and all the other absurdities and impossibilities peculiar to the religion taught by the missionaries”

          • How can one be practically an atheist? That’s like being almost pregnant.:-)
            I don’t think one can be an atheist keeping a sail out of windward. I think that
            is a definition of an agnostic.

      • Maxim, like others, thought that drastically improved weaponry would help stop wars or at least make them end faster. What he did not take into account that it just upped the number of soldiers that fought in the wars and like most people today,he could not comprehend the numbers or the determination of nations to expend their male populations in battle. Of course, if not him there were many others that would have taken his place. Once the move to smokeless powder was made machine guns would inevitably follow.

  2. This is a retouched photographic negative and as such is usually very accurate in details
    but tends to flatter the face of course,
    However, Lord Byron was apparently not a fan although like most poems I tend to not be able to fully appreciate (to fly off on a tangent there are exceptions like Byron’s wonderful “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix” or Poe’s “The Raven”and Kiplings “Brown Bess” (which delicately recognizes the origin of the name Brown Bess although most would prefer it not be “Wanton Whore”). Oh yeah, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Tennyson gets a thumbs up, as does “Ode to the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes” by Thomas Gray, whose advice all of us who buy guns we “just have to have” have not taken.

    Well, if you have read this far, here is the poem:
    “He knew “Garth” went in for the Lead,
    He followed, thus, the mania spread. –
    Before his swift.effacing fingers
    Vanish the lines where passion lingers;
    He marks upon the withered fair
    The fracture of the nose that’s there;
    It flies with furrowed lines that streak
    Adown, athwart, the freckled cheek;
    And with no inartistic eye
    (But custom wins, he weeps, not now,)
    He models that chill, changeless brow,
    Whose flabbiness, or apathy
    Appals the gazing sitter’s heart –
    (What knoweth such as she of art?)
    The face she dreads, yet dwells upon,
    Flabby, but young; ah! youth alone,
    Of all the virtues most seraphic,
    Hides every sin that’s photographic.”

    • Or perhaps In The Garden or Garden of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, known a “The Soul of lebanon”? I acquired a complete collection of Gibran’s writings in both Arabic and American English while living among the Lebanese in the 60s. His writings rival the more archaic Haiku of Japan.

  3. “Brad
    October 10, 2015 at 7:13 am · Reply

    Here’s a website that shows the internal function of this weapon:

    http://www.victorianshipmodels.com/autoMG/Maxim/index.html

    Came across it the other week, and found it quite fascinating. The lever is ALSO the safety.”

    So the gun uses somekind of lifting locking piece design ie the opposite system to a falling locking piece design?
    We did change it to a toogle lock design it his lateer guns. The toogle lock locks more complicated !

  4. Well it was some invention, with the advent of smokeless powder the next Richmond U.S civil war trench lark would be even more costly in lives… Mind you, the guns would sell and someone has to invent these things.

    • Well, when it came to the period before test firing, the rifle barrel company executive warned Maxim that thousands of guys tried to invent automatic weapons with no success.

      Mr. Purvis: “Don’t do it. Thousands of men for many years have been working on guns. There are many hundred failures every year. Engineers and clever men imagine that they can make a gun do as you have described. But they have never succeeded. They are all failures. So, you had better drop it and not spend a single penny on it. You don’t stand a ghost of a chance in competition with regular gun makers. You are not a gun man. Stick to electricity.”

      Maxim: “I am a totally different mechanic from any you have ever seen before, a different breed.”

      Maxim’s success in marketing grew from having several complete products just before putting ads in the papers. Then he demonstrated in front of important people including the Duke of Cambridge that his gun did NOT require muscle men to operate it on the battlefield unlike the manually operated machineguns, which tended to exhaust its operators’ arms just shooting (to say nothing of manhandling 200 plus avoirdupois pounds of gun, not including the ammunition). The Maxim gun weighed less than 200 pounds, could throw thousands of rounds downrange in 4 minutes without the barrel melting, and most importantly, could deal with jamming problems in the field much better than its hand-cranked contemporaries…

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