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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Ultron Wire  
  Invisible metal makes the thinnest, strongest wire.  

At our signal, Gibbons exhausted the air in the compartment, pumping it into the body of the ship, and as the little signal light flashed, Wilma threw open the hatch. Setting the ultron wire reel, I climbed through, and began to slide down gently. We all had our belts on, of course, adjusted to a weight balance of but a few ounces. And the five-mile reel of ultron wire that was to be our guide was of gossamer fineness, though, anyway, I believe it would have lifted the full weight of the five of us, so strong and tough was this invisible metal. As an extra precaution, since the wire was of the purest metal, and therefore totally invisible, even in daylight, we all had our belts hooked on small rings that slid down the wire.
From Armageddon: 2419 A.D., by Philip Frances Nowlan.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1928
Additional resources -

It could also conduct a signal and current.

We came out in the open without any further mishap and I instructed Gibbons in the ship to light the knob on the end of the ultron wire. It flashed dully a few feet away from us. Just how he had maneuvered the ship to keep our end of the line in position, without its swinging in a tremendous arc, I have never been able to understand...

As soon as Gibbons had our word, he extinguished the knob light, and the knob, as well as the wire, became totally invisible. At our ultrophoned word, he would light it again...

Compare to shadow square wire from Ringworld (1970), by Larry Niven.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Armageddon: 2419 A.D.
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip Frances Nowlan
  Tech news articles related to Armageddon: 2419 A.D.
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip Frances Nowlan

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