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"Science fiction is what scientists would do if they could - if they had enough grant money, enough time, and enough brains to do the wonderful things they would like to do."
- Greg Bear

Cold Ray  
  A device that pulled warmth from anything it was aimed at.  

Even now, we scarcely understand the nature of that blue ray, the Cold Ray, as it is now called. We know that all things in its path acted as if under the influence of extreme, unheard-of cold, absolute zero. It was exactly as if the invaders had concentrated utter cold and hurled it forth in a single stabbing ray. Strictly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as positive cold, only absence of heat. The theory generally accepted now is that in some unexplained manner the ray had the power of instantly sucking away the heat of anything it touched.

Certain it was that the ray was a terrible weapon. Beneath it, flesh and blood froze immediately into black hard lumps, metal cracked, trees and plants shriveled instantly...

It seems that as the Cold Ray swept around the city, it crossed, ever and again. the city's harbor and the sea outside. And for many days afterward, immense icebergs of unprecedented size ranged the English coast, born of that striking of the ocean by the blue ray.

From The Atomic Conquerors, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Weird Tales in 1927
Additional resources -

It's not quite the same, but take a look at the wasp knife, a real-life device that kills with cold.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Atomic Conquerors
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to The Atomic Conquerors
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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