Original British Vickers Family Handwritten Letter of First Maxim Gun Test Fire - A Note That Changed the World- Dated April 8th, 1885
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Too few people know that the American inventor Hiram Maxim of Maine had in fact invented a light bulb rivaling that of Thomas Alva Edison and that the Edison organization paid Maxim off with $20,000 per year in 1883 to withdraw from the electricity business and to leave the United States for a minimum of ten years.
Maxim travelled to England and pursued his second passion, his system to create the first true machine gun. He encountered the Vickers family, a large concern in the British armaments field and initially made just an alliance to explore what possibilities were available and whether or not Maxim's ideas actually worked. Things came to a head in 1885 when the first private trials were held and a legend was born.
Here we have the original note handwritten by the son ALBERT VICKERS to his father EDWARD VICKERS, on Albert's London Club notepaper (The Whitehall Club in Parliament Street, S.W.) dated April 8th, 1885.
The note reads:
WE FIRED THE NEW 1 INCH MAXIM GUN TODAY & IT WAS AN ABSOLUTE SUCCESS.
I WOULD NOT SELL IT OUT FOR LESS THAN A QUARTER OF A MILLION AND IF OUR GOVERNMENT HAD ANY BRAINS THEY WOULD PAY THAT PRICE AND KEEP IT SECRET.
WE HAVE ONLY TAKEN PROVISIONAL (unreadable) FOR THIS ONE & NOTHING IS PUBLISHED.
I LEFT EDITH AND THE CHILDREN AT VENTNOR & GO BACK THERE TOMORROW TO FETCH THEM HOME ON MONDAY.
TELL ISABEL SHE WILL GET SEVERAL HUNDRED POUNDS FOR EACH OF HER MAXIM GUN SHARES I HOPE & BELIEVE.
Then we find a draft note of his father's reply written on the bottom:
THIS MUST BE TOO SANGUINE.
[two lines crossed out]
THIS PEACE LOVING NATION WITH SUCH AN ADMINISTRATION THAT WE NOW HAVE WOULD NEVER PURCHACE AT ANY PRICE.
Well the Vickers Maxim alliance held, in 1897 the firm became "VICKERS SONS & MAXIM LTD" and the world forever changed. The father Edward died in 1897. Hiram Maxim died in 1916 and Albert Vickers Died in 1919. One wonders what might have happened had this alliance never formed?
The Vickers/Maxim Machine Guns transformed warfare and the world was devastated during the 1914-1918 First World War and was changed forever.
Albert Vickers original 1885 handwritten and signed note to his father Edward Vickers, with reproduced photographs of both father and son together.
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