Hudson Maxim
Hudson Maxim was a U.S. inventor and chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...

 who invented a variety of explosive
Explosive material
An explosive material, also called an explosive, is a reactive substance that contains a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion if released suddenly, usually accompanied by the production of light, heat, sound, and pressure...

s, including smokeless gunpowder
Smokeless powder
Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of propellants used in firearms and artillery which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older gunpowder which they replaced...

. He was the brother of Hiram Stevens Maxim
Hiram Stevens Maxim
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim was an American-born inventor who emigrated to England at the age of forty-one, although he remained an American citizen until he became a naturalized British subject in 1900. He was the inventor of the Maxim Gun – the first portable, fully automatic machine gun – and the...

, inventor of the Maxim gun
Maxim gun
The Maxim gun was the first self-powered machine gun, invented by the American-born British inventor Sir Hiram Maxim in 1884. It has been called "the weapon most associated with [British] imperial conquest".-Functionality:...

 and uncle of Hiram Percy Maxim
Hiram Percy Maxim
Hiram Percy Maxim was an American radio pioneer and inventor, and co-founder of the American Radio Relay League . He originally had the amateur call signs SNY, 1WH, 1ZM, 1AW, and later W1AW, which is now the ARRL Headquarters club station call sign...

, inventor of the Maxim Silencer.

Maxim was a man of many talents. He started his career in 1881 as the publisher of Real Pen Work - Self Instructor in Penmanship, a book addressing the arts of calligraphy and penmanship
Penmanship is the technique of writing with the hand using a writing instrument. The various generic and formal historical styles of writing are called hands, whilst an individual personal style of penmanship is referred to as handwriting....

, and the sale of special inks, pens, and other supplies related to penmanship. Later he joined his brother Hiram Stevens Maxim
Hiram Stevens Maxim
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim was an American-born inventor who emigrated to England at the age of forty-one, although he remained an American citizen until he became a naturalized British subject in 1900. He was the inventor of the Maxim Gun – the first portable, fully automatic machine gun – and the...

's workshop in the United Kingdom, where they both worked on the improvement of smokeless gunpowder. After some disputes, Hudson Maxim returned to the USA and developed a number of stable high explosives, the rights of which were sold to the DuPont
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...


During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Maxim wrote a book, Defenseless America, in which he pointed out the inferiority of the American defence system and the vulnerability of the country against attacks of foreign aggressors. His good friend, Elbert Hubbard
Elbert Hubbard
Elbert Green Hubbard was an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. Raised in Hudson, Illinois, he met early success as a traveling salesman with the Larkin soap company. Today Hubbard is mostly known as the founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York, an...

, died on the RMS Lusitania
RMS Lusitania
RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland. The ship entered passenger service with the Cunard Line on 26 August 1907 and continued on the line's heavily-traveled passenger service between Liverpool, England and New...

 when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. This event fueled his belief that the USA should improve its defenses and join the war against Germany on the side of the Entente
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...


Maxim also wrote the book The Science of Poetry and the Philosophy of Language about the nature and writing of poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

. In this work, he contended that words, like chemical particles, had natural laws that governed the manner in which they could be combined into verse, and that poetry perceived as excellent was in fact one that conformed to those laws. He also argued that certain famous poets (William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....

) had discovered those laws and put them to use in their poetry.

During his experimental career, he lost his left hand in a mercury fulminate explosion in 1912. Hudson lived out his latter years at his estate on the shores of Lake Hopatcong
Lake Hopatcong
Lake Hopatcong is the largest freshwater body in the state of New Jersey, USA, approximately 4 square miles in area. The lake is located in the mountains of northern New Jersey, north of Netcong and along the border between Sussex and Morris counties.The lake is within the borders of four...

, New Jersey. He was a great promoter and supporter of the development of Lake Hopatcong and the Borough of Hopatcong
Hopatcong, New Jersey
Hopatcong is a Borough in Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 15,147.The area had been called "Brookland" in the 19th century and the lake that was expanded to become Lake Hopatcong had been known as "Great Pond" or "Brookland...

 and is honored by a memorial in Lake Hopatcong State Park.

He was an important member of the College of Fellows of the Academy of Nations.

External links

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