Lewis, Colonel Isaac Newton

Lewis, Colonel Isaac Newton
SUBJECT AREA: Weapons and armour
b. 12 October 1858 New Salem, Pennsylvania, USA
d. 9 November 1931 Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
American soldier and weapons designer.
Lewis graduated from the US Military Academy, West Point, in 1884 and was commissioned into the Artillery. He soon displayed his technical aptitude and in 1891 patented an artillery ranging device. This was followed by further gunnery devices to improve artillery accuracy and a quick-firing field gun. He also displayed an interest in electricity and designed a car lighting system and wind-powered electric lighting.
In 1911 he patented the gun that bears his name. The significance of this compared with existing machine guns was its comparatively light weight, which enabled it to be carried and operated by one person. Even so, the US Army showed no interest and so Lewis, by now retired from the Army, moved to Europe and set up a factory to produce it at Liège in Belgium. At the outbreak of war he moved his operation to England and merged it with the Birmingham Small Arms Company. The Lewis gun became the British Army's standard light machine gun during the First World War and was also used on aircraft. The USA eventually had a change of heart and also used the Lewis gun.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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