Sir Hiram Maxim with his fists raised, c 1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916) designed and built a flying machine in 1893-1894. He had previously found fame by inventing the machine gun. This was the largest aeroplane to lift off briefly from the ground in the 19th century. Trials were undertaken at Baldwins Park, Bexleyheath, Kent.