Sunday, March 2, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: Hiram Percy Maxim

I have a collection of photos (digital, not hardcopies) of famous, somewhat famous, or otherwise notable persons who were pipe smokers. To be included in my collection, the photograph must show this person with a pipe (with one exception, which I'll get around to eventually). I made this a weekly feature on my other blog for a long time, and then eventually let it slide. But since this blog is devoted specifically to pipe smoking, I thought I might as well recycle the old posts here for the benefit of the pipe smoking community. I intend to make this a weekly feature here at The Briar Files. If I can stick with it, I have enough pictures to last for a couple of years.

Hiram Percy MaximHiram Percy Maxim (1869-1936)

Known to ham radio operators around the world as the original W1AW, the callsign which has been immortalized as the callsign of American Radio Relay League. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was also an inventor, author and a pioneer of amateur radio in the early years of wireless, and was one of the instrumental founders of the ARRL. He was also an early experimenter in aviation.

H.P. Maxim was the inventor of the Maxim Silencer (or Suppressor) for firearms (the first commercially successful firearm silencer), as well as the inventor of a muffler for gasoline engines. His silencer design is still in use today, primarily in the building of mufflers for industrial and mechanical purposes.

This photo shows him at his radio station with pipe in hand. All the more impressive because he most likely was operating in CW (Morse Code) while at the same time smoking his pipe. A trick that I don't think I could ever pull off.

Favorite pipe & tobacco: Unknown.

By the way, his father, Hiram Stevens Maxim, was the inventor of the Maxim Machine Gun.

For more information about Maxim and his pioneering days in amateur radio, I recommend the book Two Hundred Meters and Down by Clinton B. Desoto.

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