"The Maxim Machine Gun"
Through using the recoil of the gun to discharge spent ammunition, the Maxim Machine Gun, capable of firing 600 rounds per minute, was the state of the art in late 19th Century firearms. It's first military deployment (in the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition into Equatoria, Sudan) was not specifically as a weapon but as deterrent since it was claimed that "merely exhibiting" the Maxim Gun to the natives would "prove a great peace producer". How much more productive might this "exhibition" have been had they strapped a flamingo to the gun's muzzle?
Image taken from page 74 of 'In Darkest Africa ... with ... woodcut illustrations and maps ... New edition' Collection of the British Library.
View illustration on British Library's Flickr Photostream
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