People buried here
There are weapons hidden in the wreath and one of them is Hiram Maxim’s machine gun!
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840 – 1916) was an inventor. He was born in America, immigrated to England and became a British citizen. He invented The Maxim Gun (see right), a fully automatic portable machine gun. He experimented with powered flight but was not successful. However his ‘Captive Flying Machine’ was a highly popular amusement ride.
He founded an armaments company, based in Kent, called ‘Vickers, Son and Maxim’, after a merger with two partners. Maxim’s updated design became known as the Vickers Gun in 1911 and was the standard British machine gun for many years. It was used extensively in World War I, by both sides, and contributed to the new horror of mechanized warfare in Europe.
Maxim is also credited with inventing the common mousetrap and, as a long-time sufferer from bronchitis; he also patented and manufactured a pocket menthol inhaler and a larger "Pipe of Peace", a steam inhaler using pine vapour, which he claimed could relieve asthma, tinnitus, hay fever and catarrh. You can find one of these in the displays at the Science Museum exhibition: The Making of the Modern World. After being criticized for applying his talents to quackery, he protested that: "it will be seen that it is a very creditable thing to invent a killing machine, and nothing less than a disgrace to invent an apparatus to prevent human suffering".
Maxim developed and installed the first electric lights in a New York City building. However, he was involved in several lengthy patent disputes with Thomas Edison over his claims to the light bulb. In 1901 Maxim was knighted by Queen Victoria. He is buried in Norwood Cemetery.