M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
Maxim 1894 Biplane
Designed on a grand scale, construction of Hiram S. Maxim's first biplane commenced in 1891, and the enormous machine was completed in 1894. Power for the pair of 17.83 ft. diameter propellers was provided by two light-weight compound steam engines, which gave a total of 360 h.p. 320 lb./sq. in. steam was supplied by a Thorneycroft marine boiler fired by naphtha, total thrust being 2,100 lb.
Testing was carried out at Baldwyn's Park, Bexley, Kent, on a 9 ft. wide steel railway track 1,800 ft. in length, equipped with check rails of Georgia pine 35 ft. apart. With pilot and three passengers aboard, the machine took off after a run of 200 yds., when it reached 40 m.p.h., but broke the check rails and came to a halt. The measured lift was 4,000 lb. Owing to the illness of the inventor, and the fact that the grounds at Baldwyn's Park were required for use as a public institution, the whole project was abandoned. Span, 104 ft. Length, 120 ft. Wing area, 3,875 sq. ft. Weight loaded, 8,000 lb.
C.Andrews Vickers Aircraft since 1908 (Putnam)
The Maxim Flying Machine
Although Vickers were not directly concerned with the flying machine invented by Hiram S. Maxim, an American living in England, a short note is presented here of his pioneering efforts in aeronautics, because of his subsequent association with Vickers, Sons and Maxim Ltd. His firm, Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Co Ltd was acquired by Vickers Sons and Co Ltd in 1897, and his original Maxim machine-gun was developed into the Vickers gun, which was widely used in military aircraft.
Maxim's aeroplane was an ungainly structure with five sets of wings, the three centre pairs of which could be removed to vary the wing area from 5,400 to 4,000 sq ft. The total weight of the machine was about 4,000 lb, and it was powered with two compound steam engines fed by a water-tube boiler. They developed 363 hp each and drove a propeller of 17 ft 10-in diameter at 375 rpm. The weight of each engine was about 320 lb, but the boiler added some 800 lb. This boiler was mounted on a midships platform which also carried the crew of three, with the controls and water tanks. The overall span was 125 ft and the length was 104 ft.
The Maxim machine was tested by its inventor in Baldwyn's Park, Bexley, Kent, in July 1894. It was mounted on a specially constructed railway track of 9-ft gauge, with a secondary wooden track of 35-ft gauge on the outside inverted to prevent the machine rising more than a few inches for the preliminary experiments.
As with other early attempts to fly a heavier-than-air craft, evidence was obtained that Maxim's machine did rise off the ground. But the uncontrollability common to all attempts prior to the Wright brothers became catastrophic during the first trials and the machine was wrecked, without injury to Maxim and his assistants. It had cost Maxim over ?20,000. Later he became a British citizen and was knighted.
Flight, July 5, 1913.
It is impossible to mention all the names of those who have contributed useful work as pioneers in the realm of flight, and far less is it possible to do justice to the more important efforts. It is sufficiently clear, however, that for a long period the science of aviation had its most serious students in England. The Aeronautical Society was founded in 1866, and the first paper that was read before its members was an extremely interesting and also a very important contribution by F. H. Wenham. Sir Hiram Maxim, as all the world knows, had very ambitious ideas about what an aeroplane should be, and he built an enormous machine with which he experimented on a rail track laid down in Baldwin's Park, Kent, in 1893. The machine was fitted with a steam engine of his own design and construction, and on one occasion the lift of the planes was sufficient to cause the machine to break through its guard rail and perform a short free flight.