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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

Metal Solvent Ray Thrower  
  Acts like a flame thrower in space.  

He has an unexpected use for this device.

Here was something: A metal solvent ray thrower, big and powerful enough for his purposes. It was as large as a small cannon, but easy to handle without the gravity pull that the ship once had...

Away he soared into the starry blackness, floating outward like a kite. He traveled for many yards, until he came to the end of the cable with ever so gentle a jerk... He pointed the ray thrower in the direction that the wreck was traveling in and touched the trigger switch.

Fire gushed into the dark, fire full of destructive power - and motive power. Like a rocket, the thrower recoiled and hurled backward.

From Lost Rocket, by Manly Wade Wellman.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

Compare to the reaction pistol from Gordon A. Giles Diamond Planetoid (1937) and the Pistol 'Rocket' (1931) from Buck Rogers: 2430 AD (1931) by Nowlan and Calkin.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Lost Rocket
  More Ideas and Technology by Manly Wade Wellman
  Tech news articles related to Lost Rocket
  Tech news articles related to works by Manly Wade Wellman

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