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"We're about 20 minutes away from the point where Clarke's law kicks in and technology becomes indistinguishable from magic."
- Peter Watts

Helix Gun  
  A device for capturing ferrous meteors.  

Another original idea from Jack Williamson.

Rapidly he unslung from his belt the apparatus he used to capture meteors. A powerful electromagnet, with a thin, strong wire fastened to it, to be hurled from a helix-gun. He set the drum on which the wire was wound upon the metal at his feet, fastened it with its magnetic anchor, wondering if it would stand the terrific strain when the wire tightened.

Raising the helix to his shoulder, he trained it upon a point

From Salvage in Space, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1933
Additional resources -

Compare to the magnapoon from Snow Crash (1992) by Neal Stephenson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Salvage in Space
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to Salvage in Space
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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