Hiram’s Father

There’s an interesting BBC article involving Hiram Stevens Maxim, the father of Hiram Percy Maxim who was the founder of ARRL and a mover and shaker in the nascent world of wireless back in the early 20th century.  Both Hiram junior and senior were inventors.  Hiram senior invented several items but was known most for the Maxim machine gun, the first portable firearm of its kind.  Outside of the radio work we know him for, Hiram Percy Maxim also invented a silencer for firearms and what was essentially a muffler for car exhaust systems.

A contemporary firearms engineer and inventor in Europe named William Cantelo mysteriously disappeared in the 1880s when he went on a road show to sell his new invention to investors and manufacturers, a repeating firearm.  Cantelo, his body, or evidence of foul play was never found, however rumors of him being in America were circulated.

To add to the mystery, the resemblance between Hiram Stevens Maxim and William Cantelo is quite striking.  The similarities in appearance along with their common talents in firearm inventions led to claims that Maxim was really Cantelo.  This has never been proven, and it’s been written that Hiram Stevens Maxim was not interested in engaging the Cantelo family’s questions about his identity.

The Mystery of the Vanishing Gun Inventor

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