Hiram Percy Maxim
Hiram Percy Maxim of Hartford was the man who invented the ham operator, the Maxim silencer which was the first mass produced firearms silencer, the automobile muffler, and was a pioneer in air compressor technology. His father, Hiram Stevens Maxim invented the Maxim Machine Gun. His uncle, Hudson Maxim was an inventor of explosives and ballistic propellants.
Hiram Hudson toyed with the concept of a gasoline powered engine for an automobile and in 1899, raced the Pope Columbia, a gasoline-powered automobile, at the first closed-circuit automobile race in the US in Branford.
Maxim wrote a well received autobiography which was later adapted into the film So Goes My Life. He also penned Life's Place in the Cosmos, an overview of contemporary science that surmised life existed outside of earth. He died, unexpectedly, while returning home to Hartford in February, 1936, from a trip to California.