The Maxim gun was a weapon invented by American-British inventor Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1884: it was the first recoil-operated machine gun in production. It was manufactured by Vickers and was sometimes known as the Vickers-Maxim and sometimes just … The United States Army had shown interest in the Maxim machine gun since 1887. National and military authorities were reluctant to adopt the weapon, and Maxim's company initially had some trouble convincing European governments of the weapon's efficiency. Soldiers generally held a great mistrust of machine guns due to their tendency to jam. Maxim machine gun, first fully automatic machine gun (q.v. Driven forward by a compressed spring, the bolt would then cock the firing pin, load the new cartridge and fire, repeating the cycle indefinitely until the trigger was released or ammunition was exhausted. Fifty British security guards of the Rhodesian Charter Company in Africa brought four Maxims to bear against Zulu tribesmen, and in less than 90 minutes the guns had killed 3,000 of an attacking Zulu force of 5,000. It could fire up to 500 rounds per minute. Hiram Maxim was born near Sangerville, Maine in 1840. Maxim's attention was drawn to guns in 1881, when a friend is said to have told him "If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable those fool Europeans to cut each other's throats with greater facility." Nevertheless, no army in the world can afford to do without machine guns, and the models being manufactured today are likely to remain in service for many years. Maxim's ''little daisy of a gun,'' as he called it, immediately attracted the interest of the Duke of Cambridge and British royalty. The M1904 was deployed in operations in the Philippines, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central and South America, but never saw much combat use. The Maine-born inventor, moreover, was as prolific as his more famous contemporaries. It has been termed "the weapon most associated with imperial conquest" by British historian Martin Gilbert, and was heavily used by colonial powers during the Scramble for Africa during the era of New Imperialism. The Maxim gun was a weapon invented by American-British inventor Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1884: it was the first recoil-operated machine gun in production. The Maxim gun was first used by Britain's colonial forces in 1893–1894 First Matabele War in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The M-16, which is produced by Colt, fires a burst of bullets with a single pull of the trigger, and is thus a form of machine gun. At that point, the barrel would halt its rearward motion but the bolt would fly backward faster still, hastened by another Maxim invention, a small lever called an accelerator. Maxim never reached the pinnacle of success in his native land, but a turning point came for him during a business trip he made to Europe. Otherwise, he knew, the empty cartridge case would start to leave the chamber too soon, and the gas pressure in the barrel would burst the thin brass case, ruining the gun and possibly maiming the shooter. Initially used to help build colonial empires, the Maxim gun did its first large-scale slaughtering in 1893, a scant eight years after the gun's invention. Around 1881, Maxim was interested with the fact that many inventors in Europe, including Gatling, were trying to perfect the machine gun. At the outset of World War I, all the combatant armies were armed with Maxim's gun. This made it vastly more efficient and less labor-intensive than previous rapid-firing guns, such as the Mitrailleuse, Gatling, Gardner, or Nordenfelt, that relied on actual mechanical cranking. '', A chronic sufferer of bronchitis, Maxim invented and manufactured a steam inhaler a few years before his death, but his inhaler prompted a storm of accusations that he was ''prostituting my talents on quack nostrums. In 1884, Hiram Maxim built the first effective machine gun, which revolutionized warfare. During World War I, it remained in the U.S. for training. In London, Maxim devised a spring-loaded bolt action that could store up the recoil energy released by a shot and use that energy for readying the weapon for the next shot. The mechanism of the Maxim gun employed one of the earliest recoil operated firing systems in history. The Maxim was the first true self-powered machine gun*, a recoil-operated fully-automatic belt fed weapon produced by Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, an American-born inventor who moved to England at the age of 41. Easily look up new and used firearm values. Maxim Machine Gun, Model 1895, Cal. The Maxim Gun Was So Powerful That It Took 4 Men To Operate It. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. As a result, he built the first fully automatic gun in 1883. After the war, the submachine gun became a favorite weapon of police, strike-breaking factory guards and gangsters. If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each others' throats with greater facility.' On Sept. 2, 1898, the Maxim fought its first real battle when Sir Herbert Kitchener (assisted by a young Winston Churchill) met an army of Muslem fundamentalists at Omdurman on the Nile. To date, something between 30 million and 50 million AKs have been manufactured, and that's just one of hundreds of different types.'' Hiram Maxim, who designed the machine gun which bore his name in 1884, first offered use of the machine to Britain. Machine guns attract little notice from the makers of military budgets, because they are relatively cheap. The best .50-caliber heavy machine gun money can buy costs only about $5,000, and automatic assault rifles that can double as light machine guns go for only a few hundred dollars each. 1 on my bucket list for years. Albert Vickers became the company's chairman, and it later joined hands with a Swedish competitor, Nordenfelt, to become Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company. BTW, a Colt Model P (Peacemaker) revolver sold for $22, a Winchester M1873 carbine was a $30 item, and the then-new Lee-Enfield 0.303in rifle (not an “SMLE” yet) cost the Crown 5/4/6 (five pounds, four shillings and sixpence), which at 16 shillings to the pound works out to about $26.27. Maxim's earliest designs used a 360-degree rotating cam to reverse the movement of the block, but this was later simplified to a toggle lock. The latter was designed so that the struggling of each victim would reset the trap for the next mouse. The advent of the machine gun meant that for the first time a handful of gunners could subdue masses of enemy infantry, revolutionaries, strikers or hostile crowds. ''Take the AK family of Soviet assault rifles,'' he said. At the time, Russian law barred atheists from the country, and Maxim had fallen afoul of the secret police by describing himself as an atheist. Maxim's first patents related to the development of the Maxim were registered in June and July 1883. The British killed or wounded more than 20,000 of the enemy while sustaining only light casualties of their own. Maxim's solution, and the heart of his design, was a toggle mechanism patterned on the human leg. G. Richelmann, Schaffung der Wissmanntruppe; in: Becker, Perbandt, Richelmann, Schmidt, Steuber: Hermann von Wissmann, Deutschlands grösster Afrikaner, Berlin 1907, p. 191, Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company, "Ukrainian Troops Are Still Using This Pre-World War I-Era Maxim Machine Gun In Combat - The Drive", Encyclopædia Britannica: Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, "South Africa's National Museum Of Military History", Handbook of the Maxim Automatic Machine Gun, caliber .30, model of 1904, with pack outfits and accessories. The gun was simply called Vickers gun or Vickers machine gun. Today's recoil-operated guns, including the M-2 heavy machine gun, work essentially the same way, although the complicated knee-action toggle lock has been replaced by a simpler lock, a steel bar that is cammed up and down in a vertical slot. ''Governments spend so heavily on nuclear submarines and missiles,'' said an executive of a machine gun factory, ''that the manufacture of trucks and guns gets the lowest priority. The quiet of the community is disturbed only slightly by the muffled thumping of machine gun and cannon fire inside the plant's sound-proof test ranges. It also saw use during the Russian Civil War, which followed the Revolution in 1917. The Maschinengewehr 08, or MG 08, was the German Army's standard machine gun in World War I and is an adaptation of Hiram S. Maxim's original 1884 Maxim gun.It was produced in a number of variants during the war. A larger-calibre version of the Maxim, firing a one-pound shell, was built by Maxim-Nordenfeldt. [17] During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1906, the Russian Army employed the Maxim in combat[18] and placed a rush order for another 450 units from overseas suppliers, which were mostly delivered to front-line troops before the end of the war.[17]. ''Like Edison,'' he later wrote, ''I never had any use for a religion,'' but it seemed expedient at the time to undergo a temporary conversion. [2] It has been termed "the weapon most associated with imperial conquest" by British historian Martin Gilbert,[3] and was heavily used by colonial powers during the Scramble for Africa during the era of New Imperialism. Vickers gun was not easy to operate for it needed 6 to 8 men to operate it well. Colt made their machine guns for the new .30-06 caliber, and the ones made by Vickers were re-chambered for the new round. Maxim machine gun is one of the first examples of military automatic weapons. The first prototype was demonstrated to invited guests in October 1884.The weapon was first revealed to the public at an international Inventions Exhibition at Kensington in the spring of 1885. World War I, sometimes called ''the machine-gun war,'' saw carnage unequaled in all previous history. Maxim took the advice seriously, set up a workshop in London, and within three years, was building the world's first practical machine guns. It played an important role in the swift European colonization of Africa in the late 19th century. As it was put by Hilaire Belloc, in the words of the figure "Blood" in his poem "The Modern Traveller": Whatever happens, we have got Choose from 4 different sets of Maxim Gun flashcards on Quizlet. Dr. Gatling did not succeed in getting his gun used to any extent in the great American war. The inventor settled in England, became a subject of the Queen, and was finally knighted for his achievements. '', See the article in its original context from. The main supplier of machine guns to America's armed forces, Saco Defense Inc. (a subsidiary of the Swiss-owned Alusuisse of America Inc.), is situated in a tidily landscaped suburb of Portland, Me. ''But the numbers must be astronomical,'' he said in an interview. The U.S. procured other machine guns after M1904 production ended, including the M1909 Benét–Mercié, the Colt–Vickers M1915, and the Browning M1917. He was asked to stand for Parliament but declined because of deafness, a problem possibly caused by the 200,000-odd shots he had fired while demonstrating his gun. '', The inventor wryly commented: ''From the foregoing it will be seen that it is a very creditable thing to invent a killing machine, and nothing less than a disgrace to invent an apparatus to prevent human suffering. [8], The first unit in the world to receive the Maxim was the Wissmann force which was sent in 1888 by the German Empire to East Africa to put down the Abushiri Revolt. Maxim established the Maxim Gun Company with financing from Albert Vickers [la], son of steel entrepreneur Edward Vickers. In 1881, Hiram Maxim invented a machine gun that made every other machine gun in the world obsolete. Maxim 5-barrel machine gun, 5-barrel variant fed from overhead inserted magazines and later belt-fed. The ploy worked; ''Since that time,'' Maxim wrote, ''the Russians have purchased vast numbers of Maxim guns, and it has been asserted by those who ought to know that more than half of the Japanese killed in the late war (the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05) were killed with the little Maxim gun.''. The first 50 guns and tripods were made by Vickers, Sons & Maxim in the U.K. chambered for .30-03. In October that year, he placed an order of 120 rifle-calibre Maxims[16] using the same .577/450 ammunition as the Martini–Henry rifles. You could also buy a maxim gun online on Ebay. [6], A prototype of the Maxim gun was given by Hiram Maxim to the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition in 1886–1890, under the leadership of Henry Morton Stanley. The gun was finally adopted in 1904 as the Maxim Machine Gun, Caliber .30, Model of 1904 as the first rifle-caliber heavy machine gun for standard service in the U.S. Army. Neither governments nor private organizations keep track of the number of machine guns in existence, but the aggregate today may be somewhere in the vicinity of 100 million. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Regardless of manufacturing priorities, moreover, there seems to be no shortage of machine guns in the United States or elsewhere in the world. Maxim's airplane might well have flown before that of the Wright brothers, had it been powered by something lighter than a steam engine. Learn Maxim Gun with free interactive flashcards. A short feature on the Maxim Machine Gun with interview - shot in Dover Foxcroft, ME in July of 2002. Gun Values by Gun Digest brings you the authority of our annual gun pricing guide, The Standard Catalog of Firearms, in a simple online package. [15] A more immediate problem was that, initially, its position was easily given away by the clouds of smoke that the gun produced (although the same was true of artillery pieces and units of troops that the machine gun was intended to replace or supplement, so this wasn't viewed as a particular drawback by the early users). This gun was large, absurd, and clumsy, and so heavy that it required to … This was a civilian volunteer defence unit on the then-British island. During his childhood in Maine, Maxim had been knocked over by the recoil of a powerful rifle, and had speculated on the possibility of putting recoil forces to work to operate guns automatically. ''Moreover,'' Dr. Ezell said, ''most automatic weapons (machine guns) don't go away, they're just recycled. original retail cost around $225! Chinese Type 24 Heavy Machine Gun (Copies of the Maschinengewehr 1908), Romanian-made 6.5 mm version, at least 8–12 were produced and were used by the Romanian Danube Flotilla during, This page was last edited on 13 December 2020, at 21:21. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. As Edison's chief rival in the design of electrical systems, Maxim installed the first electric lights in a New York City building (the Equitable Insurance Company, 120 Broadway) in the late 1870's. The 1914 machine gun, usually positioned on a flat tripod, would require a gun crew of four to six operators. The movement of the bolt would eject the spent cartridge case and withdraw a fresh cartridge from a moving fabric belt. The maxim machine gun was a big hit for Hiram maxim because britain was buying his guns and other stuff. [9] Wissmann was issued one of the first Maxim guns which had reached Germany and used it successfully in his attack on Pangani.[10]. Finally, the company was absorbed into the mother Vickers company, leading first to the Maxim-Vickers gun and then, after Vickers' redesign, the Vickers machine gun. At rest, the ''leg'' lay straight and horizontal, its swiveling ''foot'' pressed against the rear of the bolt, holding it tightly against the breech of the barrel. Machine gun, automatic weapon of small caliber that is capable of sustained rapid fire. By the time Colt began production in 1908 (which was also the last year orders were placed for the guns), a total of 90 M1904s were made by Vickers. The mechanism of the Maxim gun employed one of the earliest recoil-operated firing systems in history. Like the Maxim Gun the Maschinengewehr 08 (or MG08) - so-named after its year of adoption, 1908 (itself based upon an earlier 1901 model) - was water-cooled (via a jacket around the barrel which held approximately one gallon) and could reach a firing rate of up to 400 7.92mm rounds from a 250-round fabric belt per minute, although sustained firing would lead to over-heating. More a publicity stunt than a serious military contribution, in view of the main financier of the expedition, William Mackinnon, "merely exhibiting" the gun was likely to "prove a great peace-preserver". It took 3 years to create the maxim machine gun. The machine gun was developed in the late 19th century and has profoundly altered the character of modern warfare. The British Vickers machine gun was an improved and redesigned Maxim, introduced into the British Army in 1912 and remaining in service until 1968. The Maxim gun design was provided with water cooling, giving it the ability to maintain its rate of fire for far longer than air-cooled guns. US War Department, July 1916, The Maxim Machine Gun Systems Blueprints by 1906, Animation of Maxim's prototype machine gun, 1884, Animation of Maxim's second prototype machine gun 1885, Animation of Maxim's transitional machine gun 1885, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Maxim_gun&oldid=994049874, Victorian-era weapons of the United Kingdom, World War I infantry weapons of the United States, Weapons and ammunition introduced in 1886, Articles needing additional references from April 2010, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia introduction cleanup from September 2020, Articles covered by WikiProject Wikify from September 2020, All articles covered by WikiProject Wikify, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. (Most of the earlier rapid-fire guns, notably the multibarreled gun invented by the American Richard Jordan Gatling in 1861, had to be cranked by hand. During the Battle of the Shangani, 700 soldiers fought off 5,000 warriors with just five Maxim guns. The first machine gun which ever saw service in the field was the French Reffye mitrailleuse [link]. A picture of the period depicts a Maxim gun mounted on a tachanka, a horse-drawn carriage, along with the gunner, firing backwards at a pursuing White Army regiment. The German Army's Maschinengewehr 08 and the Russian Pulemyot Maxim were both more or less direct copies of the Maxim. During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, the French fielded the Mitrailleuse, an unwieldy weapon whose limited range left it vulnerable to German artillery and ultimately disappointing as a weapon. .303. manufacturing facilities of the Nordenfelt plants to fill his backlog of orders. [19], Soviet Russia officially used Maxim machine guns in fortresses along the Chinese border until the 1980s because their water-cooled system was deemed to be a more reliable solution for very heavy and extended use against prolonged human-wave-type attacks. The Maxim company (Vickers, Sons, & Maxim, to be specific) quoted a price of $1,226.35 each, plus another $190.77 each for … Production took place at Erith in Kent, and some models were fitted to early biplanes also fabricated there. Let me show you other details about Vickers gun below: Facts about Machine Guns in WW1 1: how to operate Vickers gun. When a cartridge was fired, barrel, bolt and ''leg'' would recoil a short distance, remaining locked together until the bullet had left the gun. The Maxim gun is a specific type of machine gun, and an obsolete one, at that. Maxim's method of hardening the carbon filaments of incandescent bulbs actually paved the way for the light bulb credited to Edison. • Maxim 5-barrel machine gun, 5-barrel variant fed from overhead inserted magazines and later belt-fed. It was an idea whose time had come, as other inventors quickly applied the principle to other arms. What drastically increased the total weight of the package was the gun's mount. While they produced many models of rapid-firing naval guns, the only automatic weapons manufactured were the 37-mm pom-pom and the rifle caliber gun, known as the Maxim-Nordenfelt. The Maxim machine gun has been No. George A. Strichman, retiring board chairman of Colt Industries Inc., said in an interview that he expects the M-16 assault rifle to remain the primary United States infantry weapon until well into the 21st century. By World War I, one gunner firing a Maxim could kill hundreds of troops crossing exposed areas. But the three principles have one thing in common - they were all patented by Hiram Maxim between the years 1883 and 1885. That's the paradox of today's armament industry.''. Shoot, disassembling, look under the X-ray, slow down to 1/500th of a second. Two main objectives in all new designs, said a Saco spokesman, William K. Gearan, are to increase the service lives of new guns while reducing their weight. The MG 08 served during World War II as a heavy machine gun in many German infantry divisions, although by the end of the war it had mostly been relegated to second-rate fortress … The maxim machine gun was used the most in world war I. What military forces liked about the Maxim gun was its excellent reliability, firing ammunition until stocks were exhausted. 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