Machine gun patent

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  • Intro

    Hiram Maxim (1840-1916) was a self-taught US engineer and inventor who had worked on such things as curling tongs and light bulbs. But he knew a good way of making money would be a weapon indispensable to all those warring Europeans - such as a better machine gun than the cumbersome, hand-cranked Gatling.

     

    So he moved to London in 1883 and devised the first automatic machine gun. Watercooled and fed by belts of ammunition, it used the recoil to eject spent cartridges and load fresh ones. The British Army adopted it in 1889, using it in southern Africa in 1893. European armies followed suit, and World War I saw both sides using Maxim's invention to lethal, and mutually canceling, effect.

     

    Shelfmark: BIPC Patents

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