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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Force Pencil  
  Device straps to forearm, projects a force beam.  

From a closet in the wall [the Black Man] took a rather thick, black sheath, that suggested in part a coil, or a network of wires, and bound it to his right forearm. On a cabinet across the room was a shallow brass bowl, with some flowers floating in it. He pointed his right hand at it, experimentally, seeming to feel for some kind of contact. The bowl rocked slightly, rose an inch or two off the table, and suddenly upset, spilling water and flowers. He smiled satisfiedly...

The Black Man's right arm, bent at his side, moved a little, feeling for contact. He leaned a little to the left to balance the weight of the force pencil.

From Gather Darkness, by Fritz Leiber.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1943
Additional resources -

Compare to the pencil heat ray from Ray Cumming's excellent 1931 novel Brigands of the Moon and the force-field penknife from Isaac Asimov's 1951 novel Foundation. The use of technology in religious ceremonies Gather, Darkness is very similar to that used in ceremonial events in the Foundation series.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Gather Darkness
  More Ideas and Technology by Fritz Leiber
  Tech news articles related to Gather Darkness
  Tech news articles related to works by Fritz Leiber

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