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Hiram Maxim, born near Sangerville, Maine, in 1840, enjoyed a brilliant career as an inventor and self-promotor. His best-known invention, the Maxim gun, proved appallingly successful during the British imperialistic ventures in Africa at the turn of the century and later in World War I. In this article, Emeritus Professor Charles Shain traces the literary usages for Maxim ’s invention, both as noun and as a verb - describing the scything action of the gun as it mowed down an advancing foe. Charles Shain published and taught in the field of American Studies at Carleton College and for twelve years was president of Connecticut College. Mr. Shain and his wife have edited two Maine anthologies: The Maine Reader (Houghton Mifflin) and Growing Up In Maine (Down East Books). The Shains live in Georgetown, Maine.