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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Artificial Transparent Element  
  A substance as strong as metal that you can see through.  

Windows of an artificial transparent element, scarcely less strong than the metal of the hull, enabled the voyagers to look around them.
From Last and First Men, by Olaf Stapledon.
Published by Not known in 1930
Additional resources -

This is an obvious precursor to the idea with which all Star Trek fans are familiar, that of "transparent aluminum".

Also, it turns out that the helio-beryllium from Out Around Rigel, a 1931 story by Robert H. Wilson, also has a transparent variant.

Compare to glassite from Brigands of the Moon (1930) by Ray Cummings, neo-crystal from Master of the Asteroid (1932) by Clark Ashton Smith, transparent car roof from Sinister Barrier (1939) by Eric Frank Russell, plani glass from Crystalized Thought (1937) by Nat Schachner, thermalite from Planet of Eternal Night (1939) by John W. Campbell and slow glass from Light of Other Days (1968) by Bob Shaw.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Last and First Men
  More Ideas and Technology by Olaf Stapledon
  Tech news articles related to Last and First Men
  Tech news articles related to works by Olaf Stapledon

Artificial Transparent Element-related news articles:
  - Transparent Aluminum Vs. .50-Cal Bullets
  - New Glass Tough As Steel

Articles related to Material
MIT Self-Assembling Reprogrammable Materials
Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
Polyaramide Is Stronger Than Steel, Light As Plastic
Trinitite, Pentagrams And Isaac Asimov

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