Science: Noise's Bogeyman

  • Share
  • Read Later

While mental hygienists, efficiency experts and city officials have been bewailing the maddening effects of city noise, Hiram Percy Maxim has been manufacturing noise mufflers at Hartford, Conn. Last week he announced that his Maxim Silencer Co., of which he is president and his only son Hiram Hamilton is chief engineer and whose factory is in Asylum Street, Hartford, will—besides continuing to make silencers for guns, motor exhausts, safety valves, air releases, in fact every kind of pipe which emits a gas—offer a consulting service in noise abatement. Chief abater will be "Dr. Shush," the Maxim trademark character, who looks like a caricature of Hiram Percy Maxim's uncle, the late explosive-making Hudson Maxim (1853-1927). But "Dr. Shush" is really Hiram Percy Maxim, noise's bogeyman. Remarkable have been the Maine family of Maxims. Hudson Maxim, who started business as a printer, was the first to make smokeless powder in the U. S. Maxim, N. J. was named for him. He sold his powder inventions to E. I. du Pont de Nemours Co. and became their consulting engineer in time to make a fortune from the Spanish-American War. Later he invented other high explosives, projectiles and devices. He blew off his left hand in a powder experiment, got a false hand which he used dexterously at tennis and bag punching. For versatility's sake he wrote The Science of Poetry & the Philosophy of Language. Hudson Maxim's older brother was Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916), one-time apprentice coach builder. He tried to beat Edison to the invention of the incandescent electric light bulb, invented a machine gun which loaded and fired itself automatically by its own recoil. He also invented a smokeless powder, tried to invent an airplane, became a British subject, was knighted. "Dr. Shush'' (Hiram Percy Maxim) is his son. Another child is Mrs. George Albert Cutter of Dedham, Mass., who before the War wrote dainty dance music ("Ten Little Tonal Fancies"), operettas (Ten Teddy Bears'), and plays (Ann is Chic But is She Safe?). "Dr. Shush" also has a daughter. Her name is Percy.