The first working gun silencer was developed by Hiram P. Maxim in 1908, who started selling the first units when the invention was patented, in 1909. Hiram P. Maxim is the son of U.S. born inventor Hiram Smith Maxim who invented the first portable machine gun.
The first commercially produced silencers were the Maxim 1909. However, the next model, the Maxim 1910 became the most widely distributed silencers during the era. Also called suppressors, silencers reduce muzzle noise, gun recoil and muzzle flash. Contrary to popular belief, silencers do not completely muffle the sound of a gunshot. Silencers, instead, reduce the sound of the gunshot enough to give the shooter the ability to escape notice while striking a target.