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"I love that computer science has made mathematics into something like an experimental science. I was never all that good at proving things, but I love doing computer experiments."
- Rudy Rucker

Electro-Magnet Anchor  
  Attach a line to a spacecraft hull.  

"There are plenty of space suits in the lockers," he said tersely. "Get into them. Stand by the air-lock. You, Jarl, get into the lock and take a cable with an electro-magnet anchor. Lash yourself to it. When I give the signal by blinking the lights in the lock, open the outer door and leap across to the other ship. I know you risk death from their rays, but it is our only chance. Clamp the anchor against the side of the ship and locate the emergency entrance lock."
From The Space Rover, by Edwin K. Sloat.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

Also called a magnet grapnel in the same novel.

Compare to the MagnaPoon from Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash.

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  More Ideas and Technology from The Space Rover
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