HUDSON MAXIM - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/22/1916 - HFSID 292148
Sale Price $573.75
Signed letter to the Brooklyn Eagle, expressing skepticism about a cheap substitute for gasoline which Maxim Munitions was reported to have purchased.
Typed Letter signed: "Hudson Maxim", 1 page, 8½x11. Lakewood, New Jersey, 1916 May 22. On personal letterhead to the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle. Pencil note and strike-overs (unknown hand, but probably an editor at the paper). In full: "Various sentiments have been going the rounds of the newspapers that Hudson Maxim, head of the Maxim Munitions Corporation, after having carefully examined the Enricht method of making a substitute for gasoline, had pronounced it a success and purchased it for a million dollars. Please allow me to correct any erroneous impression regarding this matter. I am not the head of the Maxim Munitions Corporation, and the Corporation has not yet purchased the Enricht method, but has secured an option for its purchase, provided Enricht shall be able to make good his claims. As Consulting Engineer of the Corporation and as an inventor, I have done, and am doing, and shall continue to do, with both my services and inventions, everything in my power, in such capacity, for the benefit and prosperity of the corporation, and if I am asked to do so I shall very gladly examine into the Enricht method, but up to the present time I have not examined the method and am unable to make the pronouncements regarding it that have been attributed to me." In good condition, with intersecting folds, heavy creasing, scattered soiling and fingerprints, uniform shade of toning, small tears and paper loss, and various pencil notations and corrections throughout the text of the letter. In 1916, Louis Enricht claimed he had created a cheap substitute for gasoline, and received many offers from affluent investors for the purchase of his mystery invention. Maxim's brother, Hiram Maxim, paid Enricht $100,000 for the rights to the formula, with the promise of more once the ingredients were disclosed. Hudson openly expressed doubts towards the invention, alluding to merely obtaining "an option for its purchase, provided Enricht shall be able to make good his claims." Hudson Maxim (1853-1927) began his career in armaments and explosives in his brother Hiram's gun factory in New England. In 1888, he began developing new explosives and by 1890. Maxin invented a new smokeless powder. He helped his brother found a dynamite and powder factory in New Jersey that year: the following year, they parted company. In 1892, he began his own munitions factory in New Jersey, the heart of the United States' manufacturing at that time, where he developed a smokeless cannon powder. Maxim sold his company to E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company in 1897: however, he remained as a consulting engineer. His later accomplishments include shock resistant torpedoes, delayed-action fuses and a propulsion substance for torpedoes. These inventions greatly aided the Allied effort in World War I. Machine guns manufactured by his brother changed the weaponry of warfare for all time. Louis Enricht (1844-1923) did attract great attention in 1916 by claiming to have invented a cheap substitute for gasoline. Henry Ford attended one of his demonstrations, and Hiram Maxim did indeed pay Enricht $100,000, against his brother's advice as expressed in this letter. Suspected of being a German spy, but probably a simple con man, Enricht was eventually imprisoned after a larceny conviction following a similar claim in 1920. He never disclosed what was in the mysterious green liquid he poured into car engines during his demonstrations, but researchers have found likely candidate in a chemical formula which does run car engines, but quickly corrodes them. Heavily creased and soiled. Multiple pencil marks (unknown hand). Mailing folds. Notches at folds and edges. corners worn and creased. Notches near right center. Multiple finger print impressions.
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