Hiram Percy Maxim (September 2, 1869 - February 17, 1936) was founder
of the American Radio Relay League and had the amateur call sign W1AW
(now the ARRL home station call sign). His rotary spark gap
transmitter "Old Betsy" has a place of honor at the ARRL Headquarters.
Hiram Percy Maxim was a mechanical engineering graduate of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is noted as the inventor of
the "Maxim Silencer" or Suppressor for firearms as well as of a
silencer (or muffler) for gasoline engines.
He created the ARRL in 1914 because of his seeing a need to build up
an organized group of "Relay" stations to pass messages via amateur
radio. This allowed messages to pass further than any particular
station of the time could reach.
His father was Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, inventor of the Maxim Machine
gun. H.P. Maxim wrote an amusing account of his youth in the book "A
Genius in the Family: Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim Through a Small Son's
Eyes." H.P. Maxim was also a pioneering automobile inventor, which he
recounted in his book "Horseless Carriage Days."
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