Sir Hiram Maxim: Patent specifications for explosives

Scope and Content

Printed patent specifications for explosives, with diagrams and manuscript annotations, 115 pages.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916), engineer and inventor, was born at Brockway's Mills, near Sangerville, Maine, on 5 February 1840. He became chief engineer to the United States Electric Lighting Company in 1878, and emigrated to England around 1882, opening a workshop in London two years later. He became a naturalised citizen in 1900, and was knighted in 1901. Maxim was the inventor of the Maxim gun, a rapid-firing weapon with a totally automatic action, which was adopted by the British Army in 1889 and the Royal Navy in 1892. He died at Streatham, London, on 24 November 1916.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Henry Bristow, 6 February 1985.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Sir Hiram Maxim in H.W.C. Davis and J.R.H. Weaver, eds, Dictionary of national biography, 1912-1921 (Oxford University Press, 1927), pp. 376-377.

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Related Material

Papers relating to Maxim and his companies can be found in the Vickers Archive at Cambridge University Library.