Model of Maxim's flying machine on a whirling arm test jig, c 1890s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph. 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. The final machine was the largest aeroplane to lift off briefly from the ground in the 19th century. Trials were undertaken at Baldwins Park, Bexleyheath, Kent. In 1901, speaking to the aeronautical Society, Maxim predicted that a heavier than air flying machine would be successfully developed and that it would be adapted for military purposes.