Maxim family

The Maxims were an American family of inventors, best known for work on firearms and explosives.


Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840–1916), invented the Maxim machine gun (c. 1884) – the first machine gun successfully to use the recoil energy of the fired bullet to eject the shell and to place another cartridge in the firing chamber; he also contributed to the development of cordite. A mechanical genius, he took out his first patent at the age of 26 and invented numerous devices before settling in London in 1881.


Hiram's brother Hudson Maxim (1853–1927), a chemist, developed explosives much used in World War II, and notably the high explosive maximite. Hiram's son Hiram Percy Maxim (1869–1936), invented the Maxim silencer for firearms and the Maxim muffler for automobiles.