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Hiram Maxim invented the Machine Gun and Silencer, but not both…

| History | February 4, 2012

Many people believe that a single man by the name of Hiram Maxim invented both the first portable fully automatic machine gun and the first silencer.
Unfortunately they would be incorrect because Hiram Maxim is actually two different people. There was a Hiram Stevens Maxim and Hiram Percy Maxim. Hiram Stevens Maxim was Hiram Percy Maxim’s Father.
The Father, Hiram Stevens Maxim was the inventor of the first fully automatic machine gun, the Maxim Gun. He was also responsible for many other non-firearm inventions. There are two sets of Maxim Gun Patents shown below, US Patent 447524 and US Patent 459828. It always amazes me how detailed these drawings were. Fair to say they were not using CAD software back in 1891.
Hiram Percy Maxim was the inventor of the first functional and commercially available silencer. Like his father he invented both firearm and non-firearm related items. I found it very interesting that Percy came up with the gun silencer because of his work designing small engine mufflers.
One final point of interest is that the Patent actually refers to it as a silencer and silent firearm. Today people are quick to correct you by explaining the proper name is not silencer, but the more acceptable (and realistic) term of suppressor. Hopefully this little bit of trivia will help you in some future argument. Don’t worry, in all our patent research we haven’t found anything to suggest a magazine should be called a clip.
The Maxim Gun and Maxim Silencer Patent Drawings: