Laurence Vincent Benet Citation_note (1865 - 1948) Icn_world

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: West Point, Orange, New York, United States
Death: Died in Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Occupation: Inventor, engineer, ensign, US Navy
Managed by: Erica Isabel Howton, Volunteer Curator
Last Updated:

About Laurence Vincent Benet

L. V. BENET IS DEAD; BUILT MACHINE-GUN Engineer With Hotchkiss Firm For 50 Years Helped Improve Firing Speed of Weapon

WASHINGTON, May 21, 1948 – Laurence Vincent Benet, internationally known engineer and inventor of refinements and improvements to the Hotchkiss Machine Gun, dies this morning in Georgetown Hospital after a brief illness.  He was 85 years old.

Since his retirement, terminating an association of more than fifty years with the Hotchkiss Company in France, Mr. Benet had made his home in Washington, returning here in 1936 with his wife, who died in 1941.  Mrs. Benet, the former Miss Margaret Cox, was a daughter of colonel John Cox, one of Georgetown’s early Mayors.

Mr. Benet perfected the Hotchkiss Machine Gun, invented in France in 1882 by the late Benjamin N. Hotchkiss, who made ordnance for the Union Army before founding the Hotchkiss gun factory in Paris in 1870.  As perfected by Mr. Benet, the guns, firing 600 bullets a minute, were used by the French army in the First World War and also had been employed so some extent by the Japanese.

Air-cooled and gas-operated, the Hotchkiss was one of the earliest types of machine guns invented.  It was used in the fighting tops of warships before it became a famous land weapon.

Interviewed after his retirement, Mr. Benet smiled and said, “I believe I have been called a ‘merchant of death,’  Do I look it?”  “I’m sorry,” he added, “that my fingers are not dripping blood this morning.”

His profession, he said, did not fill him with horror.  “One of the great satisfactions of my life,” he went on, “is that the Hotchkiss machine guns saved Paris from the Germans.  Most of the liberties we enjoy were won by the sword.  If people have nothing else to fight with they will fight with their hands."

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Laurence Benet's Timeline

1948
May 21, 1948
Age 83
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
May, 1948
Age 83
Arlington, Virginia, United States
1865
January 12, 1865
West Point, Orange, New York, United States
????
- present
Emerson Institute
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- 1884
Yale University
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