287. Out of Africa (at least for a while 😉)
“No matter how many people you kill, using a machine gun in battle is not a war crime because it does not cause unnecessary suffering; it simply performs its job horrifyingly well.”
“We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun
“Ah, these diplomats! What chatterboxes! There's only one way to shut them up - cut them down with machine guns.”
“You don't throw rocks at a man with a machine gun!”
“I noticed long ago that you are not intelligent, ignorant and stupid. You fully deserve to be a member of my Duma.”
The best ways of killing people.
Hiram Stevens Maxim was a very peaceful person and inventor of very useful and quite peaceful things. He patented and manufactured a pocket menthol inhaler
and a larger "Pipe of Peace", a steam inhaler using pine
vapour, invented a curling iron, an apparatus for demagnetising watches, magno-electric machines, devices to prevent the rolling of ships, eyelet and riveting machines, coffee substitutes, and various oil, steam, and gas engines, the first automatic fire sprinkler
, and developed and installed the first electric lights in a New York City building .
However, none of these inventions (even the curling iron!) made his name really big. Obviously, he was applying his talents in a wrong direction until in 1882 while being in Vienna he met a fellow-American who put him on a right track by saying: “Hang your chemistry and electricity! If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each others' throats with greater facility.”
Being struck by an obvious answer to his search for the world-wide glory Mr. Maxim moved to Britain and put himself to the task and by 1885 designed an automatic weapon, using an action that would close the breech and compress a spring, by storing the recoil energy released by a shot to prepare the gun for its next shot. He thoughtfully ran announcements in the local press warning that he would be experimenting with the gun in his garden and that neighbours should keep their windows open to avoid the danger of broken glass.
He offered his invention to the Brits but the military did not show to much interest. Maxim regularly organized presentations of his machine gun in London Hampton Garden, offering his invention to the attention of foreign military and state officials and demonstrating its stunning combat capabilities. King Christian IX of Denmark, seeing a machine gun in action, called machine gun shooting aimless waste of ammunition and his opinion was shared by many dignitaries. In addition to regular presentations in London, Maxim went on a foreign tour with a machine gun show in various countries. In Germany young prince Wilhelm was allowed to fire it and was impressed but the military establishment ignored that noisy toy. 
After a successful demonstration of the machine gun in Switzerland, Italy and Austria, Hiram Maxim came to Russia with an indicative sample of a .45 machine gun (11.43 mm).Demonstration in Russia also produced mixed results. The “spirit and bayonet” camp led by Dragomirov had been against it. To say that General Dragomirov was an opponent of machine guns is to say nothing. General M. Dragomirov was the most fierce opponent of rapid fire in general. And he consistently published his opinion in almost all military, paramilitary and non-military publications. And it is very talented: it came to the point that the general clothed his objections in a very metaphorical form of "night dream" in which he shot a bear from some magazine rifle: “And cartridges are pushed in the air, trying to get into the chamber. As soon as I had time to release one cartridge, the other climbed into its place.”
Somehow none of them managed to kill or even hurt a bear who came close “Opened his terrible mouth and said in a contemptuously mocking, human voice: "Well, what's next? You're a fool! You should play child games, not shoot a gun! Didn't they tell you young people that wealth can't help a stupid son! That's what happened.”
The idiotic story had been published in a magazine “Scout” and seemingly nobody asked the author if he proposed to attack bear with a bayonet. Anyway, the 3-line  magazine rifle already being adopted notwithstanding Dragomirov’s dreams.
He treated machine guns even more negatively, and, with undisguised sarcasm, wrote "If the same person had to be killed several times, it would be a wonderful weapon, since at 600 rounds per minute they account for 10 per second. In trouble for fans of such a rapid release of bullets, it is enough to shoot a person once, and shoot him then, in catch up while he falls, as far as I know, there is no need
The general also had other objections to machine guns: "Every rapid shooter, whether to call it a buckshot or a newly invented beautiful word machine gun (and save us from the evil and metaphor!), still has nothing more than an automatic shooter, i.e. it does not give an independent type of defeat; and if you give a choice to a person who is not obsessed with prejudices that overwhelm a common sense, of course, he will prefer a live to the automatic shooter, at least for the fact that he doesn't have a carriage, he doesn't need horses, he doesn't need cover either and you can use it for any soldier's work.” 
Of course, calling to the “common sense” in that type of an argument is a pure demagoguery indicating that there are no factual arguments. But an implication was/is that if you do not agree, then you don’t possess a common sense.
Intermission. On a subject of usefulness of various technical innovations I’m tempted to quote from the memoirs of general Krylov (a famous naval engineer and applied mathematician) regarding a technical discussion in the Russian Admiralty. Conversation was between two admirals so some …er… sailor language was in place:
- Your Excellency, I don’t see the usefulness of that device.
- Your Excellency, if you shove it up yours arse, perhaps then you’ll see it.
The conclusion made by M. Dragomirov was simple: "I think machine guns are ridiculous in a normal field army
." And machine guns, according to the military theorist, will be useful on fortress walls and in small expeditions against the natives.
Fortunately, the top level of the Russian military establishment did not consist exclusively of the raving idiots and, as often, the final decision had been made in usual way: on March 8, 1886, Emperor Alexander III shot him. After the tests, representatives of the Russian military department ordered Maxim 12 machine guns of model 1885, few Maxim guns had been bought for practical testing. Experiments in the Western Military District of general Gurko produced positive reviews the license had been purchased and production started in Tula Armory. For the right to manufacture machine guns in Russia, the contract provided for the payment of £80 for each machine gun manufactured over ten years. After 10 years, the Russian military department acquired full ownership of the right to manufacture any number of Maxim machine guns without any payment of remuneration. The cost of producing a Tula machine gun (942 rubles + 80 pounds of commission to Vickers, only about 1,700 rubles) was lower than the cost of acquisition from the British (2288 rubles 20 kopecks per machine gun).
Contrary to Dragomirov’s predictions, the machine gun did not end up as a miniature artillery piece requiring the horses, a crew of five and a heavy carriage with the big wheels (original British model above) . Mass of the initial model on a heavy carriage was 244 kg, most of that weight being a carriage. Of course, it required the horses, a team of 4 - 5 and a cart to carry a team. In Russia it was modified and even with a protective shield and an additional folding carriage was easily transported with an infantry. Machine gun itself weighted 20.2 kg and with a new carriage, shield and water - 67.6 kg. The folding carriage allowed shooting either by laying on a ground or sitting (if the carriage frame was raised) and the gun required a team of two.
To improve the reliability of the 7.62 mm machine gun automation, a "barrel accelerator" was introduced into the design - a device designed to use the energy of powder gases to increase the recoil force. The front part of the barrel was thickened to increase the area of the muzzle cut, and then a spool cap was attached to the water casing. The pressure of powder gases between the muzzle cut and the cap acted on the muzzle section of the barrel, pushing it back and helping it roll back faster.
Navy also displayed a great interest to the new weapon and the production base had to be expanded to satisfy the orders.
After a heated and prolonged debate, with <make a guess who> strongly protesting on a pretext that this would lower the artillerymen spirit, Russian field artillery started being provided with the protective shields. 
In 1883 Lucien Olivier died. Name of this person is linked to the “Olivier salad” widely known abroad as the “Russian salad”.
The original recipe was kept secret and there were multiple post-morteem attempts to reproduce it which, judging by the contemporaries’ comments, were not the same as the initial dish. Needless to say that none of these recipes had too much semblance to the modern dish.
According to one of the legends, the initial dish was called "Majonnaise from game." For it, the fillets of grouses and partridges were boiled, cut and put on a plate, mixed with cubes of jelly from poultry broth. Nearby there were elegantly boiled crayfish necks and slices of tongue, sprinkled with Provencal sauce. And in the center there was a slide of potatoes with pickled gherkins, and capers decorated with slices of hard boiled eggs. According to the French chef  , the central "slide" was intended not for eating, but only for beauty, as an element of the decor of the dish. But soon Olivier saw that many Russians ignorant of his idea were immediately mixing components, destroying a carefully thought-out design, then laid out on their plates and eat this mixture with pleasure. He decided to follow the “popular demand”. There are serious doubts about validity of this story.
The modern version (one of many) involves cut and mixed boiled potatoes, carrots (instead of crayfish necks), eggs, bologna (instead of all meat and poultry components), peas (instead of the capers), minced onion, minced pickled cucumbers (of any size), and mayonnaise. But, unlike the original version, it does not require even a modest culinary talent to make. Which is probably a progress.
By 1885 construction of the TransSib (started in 1872) was finally completed. The final stage was construction of the bridge across Amur near Khabarovsk.
Political intermission. Complexity of the project warranted its discussion in the State Council where a group of the most liberal members (mostly professors of jurisprudence, which made them qualified experts in transportation, finances and pretty much everything else) voted against it
. The whole episode fully convinced AIII in the usefulness of top level elective institutions as a good way of burying any unnecessary initiative, providing he can ignore them with the impunity when he choses. It was officially declared that expanded State Council fully justified the Emperor’s expectations and, as promised, the elections into newly-created State Duma are going to be held ASAP or rather as soon as the State Council is going to present the voting rules and other needed regulations.
Since 1872, the research for the bridge construction was going on without been interrupted. A competition for the best project of the Amur Bridge was announced, leading bridge engineers took part in it, options for building a tunnel near the Amur were considered. Finally, the project "tied" to the village of Osipovka, located 8 km from Khabarovsk, was recognized as the most suitable.
Metal trusses for the bridge had been implemented in European Russia, disassembled, sent to Odessa and sailed to Vladivostok from where by the Ussury railroad transported to the final destination and assembled. The cost of its construction amounted to 13.5 million rubles. The launch of the Khabarovsk Bridge completed the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway on the territory of the Russian Empire. Length of the bridge was 2,600 meters. It was 2-track  with arrangements for pedestrian traffic on both sides.
The most difficult part of construction was Circum-Baikal road. On the map below you can see RR going from Irkutsk along the Angara River to Baikal settlement and then there is Circum-Baikal road going along the northern coast of the lake to Sludyanka settlement. The map also shows the direct route from Irkutsk to Slydyanka which was built later.
With a track length of only 260 km, 39 tunnels, 47 safety galleries, 14 km of retaining walls, numerous viaducts, breakwaters, bridges and pipes had to be built. The volume of earthworks amounted to 70 thousand cubic meters per km of track. Despite these difficulties, regular train traffic began a year ahead of schedule.
Initially, the road was built in one track; in 1890 - 1893, work was carried out on the construction of the second tracks, which made it possible to increase the capacity of the Circum-Baikal Railway to 48 pairs of trains per day. Eventually, a straightforward RR from Irkutsk across the Olkhin Plateau to Sludyanka had been built providing a shortcut and leaving the old track just as a minor local communication route between semi-abandoned settemns. Why wasn’t it done from the start? How would I know? Perhaps because the route along the lake looked beautiful or maybe the people in charge suffered from a complicated combination of a sado-masochism.
Of course, there is one more (highly implausible due to it being rational) explanation: Baikal settlement was a port of some importance (there was a ferry across the lake) and it was desirable to connect to Irkutsk. 😜
 On this account he was involved in several lengthy patent disputes with Thomas Edison
over his claims to the lightbulb
, which Edison won not because he was the first but because he knew the patent law better.
 Name of this person is not mentioned in wiki, which is plain unjust: without his wise advice the humankind may suffer from an absence of the efficient and reasonably instrument for killing people in big numbers for a longer time thus causing an obvious detriment to spreading civilization in many parts of the globe.
 As was commented by O.Henry, taking person’s life you are sometimes taking from him very little but breaking windows (in O.Henry’s novel stealing his horse) you are causing a very serious damage.
 In OTL he saw it while already being Kaiser and bought patent to its production in Germany (MG 01 and MG 08). The following Russian part is ITTL: in OTL Russian production started in 1905 prior to which time a limited number had been bought from Vickers. By which time neither Gurko was not around. In 1904 Russian field army in Manchuria had 8 of them.
 “line” is 2.54 mm. In OTL this rifle was adopted in 1891 and only from 1924 it was named “Mosin rifle”. Taking into an account that ITTL we are talking 1880s, the magazine rifles were already old news (in OTL by 1877 the Ottomans had few thousands of Winchester rifles).
 The same argument can be, even to a greater degree, applied to the artillery and a part regarding the horses references to a rather peculiar tradition started by the French mitrailleuses. They were getting the artillery-like carriages, had been arranged in the batteries and used as some kind of a weird artillery easily identified and destroyed by a real artillery due to its higher range. Actually, in a painting of Omdurman battle the British machine guns are shown in the same arrangement: they have big wheels, artillery like carriages and arranged side by side, which definitely minimized efficiency of their usage. But it was OK against the raving lunatics running on the open field into all types of a fire.
 To be fair, in OTL this was exactly what the first Maxim guns brought from Vickers looked like but soon enough they were modified into something much less cumbersome.
 Protests from the known source were real and artillery got shields only after the terrible losses in RJW.
 One of the confusing parts of the story. Olivier was a co-owner of the hotel (with the restaurant), not a chef. Names of the chefs are known.
 Happened in OTL but later and it was about construction of the line along the Amur.
 In OTL single track.