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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Spacewarp Drive  
  A means of faster-than-light travel.  

This is the first use of this full term, which eventually gets you to the phrase "warp drive", so familiar to Star Trek fans.

The year nineteen hundred and three. Professor George Yardley, an American scientist at Harvard University, had discovered the spacewarp drive.

Accidentally!

He had been working on, of all things, his wife's sewing machine, which had been broken and discarded. He was trying to rig it up so the treadle would run a tiny homemade generator to give him a high=frequency low-voltage current that he wanted to use in some class experiments in physics.

He'd finished making his connections - and fortunately he remembered afterwards just what they'd been and where he'd made his mistake - he'd worked the treadle a few times when his foot stamped unexpectedly on the floor and he nearly fell forward out of his chair.

The sewing machine, treadle and generator and all, just wasn't there any more.

From What Mad Universe, by Frederic Brown.
Published by E.P. Dutton in 1949
Additional resources -

See the article on space warp from Jack Williamson's 1936 novel The Cometeers, the earliest use of the term.

The first use of the idea of a faster-than-light drive is probably that of the inertialess drive from 'Doc Smith's 1934 novel Triplanetary.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from What Mad Universe
  More Ideas and Technology by Frederic Brown
  Tech news articles related to What Mad Universe
  Tech news articles related to works by Frederic Brown

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