The World’s First Automatic Machine Gun

In an article in Nature in 1885, the renowned science journal published a description of a new type of gun developed by the well-known American inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim.

“This gun is a completely new departure,” the article states. “It takes the cartridges out of the box in which they were originally packed, puts them into the barrel, fires them, and expels the empty cartridges, using, for this purpose, energy derived from the recoil of the barrel. Of course it is necessary to put the first cartridge into the barrel by hand. When, however, this is done, and the trigger pulled, the gun will go on and fire as long as there are any cartridges in the box.”

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A variant of the Maxim gun in Łódź, Poland. Photo: Zorro2212/Wikimedia Commons


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