If you say the name Hiram Percy Maxim to a room full of gun enthusiasts, they automatically think of him primarily as the inventor of the silencer. But if you change the audience, his legacy is vastly different.
Hiram Percy Maxim (1869-1936) was the son of inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, who was best known for inventing the machine gun in the 1880s—and while Hiram Percy grew up surrounded by the ordnance industry, many of his inventions did not involve firearms. Instead he gravitated toward a budding modern technology, the automobile.
One of his earliest creations was a gasoline powered engine. In 1899, Albert Pope’s Columbia Automobile Company adopted this idea, which became the basis for the Columbia Gasoline Carriage. It was built in Hartford, CT and was one of the first of its kind.