Isaac Newton Lewis

Isaac Newton Lewis

American inventor, creator of the famous Lewis machine gun
Date of Birth: 12.10.1858
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Isaac Newton Lewis
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Army Career
  4. Invention of the Lewis Machine Gun
  5. Other Inventions
  6. Later Life and Legacy

Biography of Isaac Newton Lewis

Isaac Newton Lewis was an American inventor, best known as the creator of the famous Lewis machine gun. He was also an officer in the United States Army.

Isaac Newton Lewis

Early Life and Education

Isaac Newton Lewis graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1884. During his time there, he developed an interest in mechanics and electrical engineering, which would later become crucial to his inventions.

Army Career

In 1911, Lewis became the head of the artillery school at Fort Monroe, where he gained recognition as an expert in mechanics and electrical engineering. He also worked as a consultant for the Automatic Arms Company in Ohio. Due to health issues, Lewis retired from the army in 1913 with the rank of colonel.

Invention of the Lewis Machine Gun

In 1912, Lewis patented his own design for a machine gun, building upon the ideas of American firearms designer Samuel MacLean. Despite his efforts to gain interest from the US military, they showed no interest in his invention. Determined to showcase the capabilities of his machine gun, Lewis traveled to Belgium. His offer to demonstrate the gun was accepted by a group of Belgian entrepreneurs, leading to the creation of the Armes Automatic Lewis company for its production in Europe. The Birmingham Small Arms company in England was chosen as the manufacturing site. The success of the initial test firings proved the Lewis machine gun's potential as an aviation weapon. Production expanded over time, and in 1915, Savage Arms in the US acquired a license to produce the machine guns. The Lewis machine gun was supplied to Allied forces during World War I.

Other Inventions

In addition to the Lewis machine gun, Isaac Newton Lewis invented various other devices. These included a chronometer, a rangefinder for coastal batteries, and a sight specifically designed for the aviation versions of the Lewis machine gun. He also made improvements to the vernier for use in coastal defense, and developed a system for electrical lighting in vehicles using windmills.

Later Life and Legacy

In 1918, Isaac Newton Lewis was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal by the Franklin Institute. He passed away on November 9, 1931, due to a myocardial infarction in Hoboken. His legacy lives on through his inventions, particularly the Lewis machine gun, which played a significant role in military history.