In 1884 Hiram Maxim invented the first modern machine gun. Unlike such predecessors as the Gatling gun, which were hand-cranked, Maxim's gun began firing when a trigger was pressed and ceased when it was released. The Maxim gun used the force of its own recoil to eject a spent cartridge, chamber another, and fire it; the true revolution, however, was that the Maxim gun had only one barrel. Its predecessors had all been multibarreled. The Maxim gun was the first truly automatic weapon, and its impact on warfare was to be profound because it greatly increased the infantry's fire power. Over time others came up with their own versions of the Maxim, and they became collectively known as machine guns.