Maxim's experimental attachment for Crystal Palace giant roundabout, c 1904.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Device developed by American inventor and engineer Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1906) and J W Dunne about 1904-1906, which was tested at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London. The 'flying boat' shown was attached to an arm extending from a mast and rotated. Whilst resident in America, Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim took out patents for, among other things, gas apparatus and electric lamps. In 1881, he emigrated to England where he perfected his 'Maxim' machine-gun in 1883. He also invented a pneumatic gun, a smokeless powder, a mousetrap, carbon filaments for light bulbs and, in 1894, a flying machine which had two huge propellors, a wingspan of 104 feet (31.7 metres) and weighed 8,000 pounds (3.63 tonnes).