According to Wikipedia... The Maxim gun was invented by Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1884, and was the first recoil-operated machine gun. It has been called "the weapon most associated with British imperial conquest". It had a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. The Maxim was heavy, bulky, and awkward. A lone soldier could fire the weapon, but it was usually operated by a team of men. Apart from the gunner, other crew were needed to speed reload, spot targets, and carry and ready ammunition and water. Several men were needed to move or mount the heavy weapon.