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"The science fiction method is dissection and reconstruction. You look at the world around you, and take it apart into its components. Then you take some of those components, throw them away, and plug in different ones, start it up and see what happens."
- Frederik Pohl

Solar Radiant Energy Weapon  
  The device absorbs solar rays and then emits a powerful, coherent ray.  

“Wait, Mugs,” he said. “I want to see what several minutes of exposure to the sun will do to this disk.”

From time to time he touched the smooth surface gingerly.

“Still cold,” he muttered at last. “The sun’s rays don’t warm this plate at all ; yet, obviously, it absorbs them. Anyway, not a trace of visible light is reflected by it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be so intensely and completely black. John, I think I begin to understand the principle of this dinkus. The pictures we saw' gave me the idea. This is the way it’s charged : by exposure to the sun ! This disk stores solar radiant energy in some manner, not as heat, of course, but by changing it into some form of potential energy with which we are probably not acquainted. When you put this plate back into its normal position in the front part of the apparatus, and press the lever, you get the radiant energy back much more swiftly than it was absorbed. That is one reason why the beam can burn things like it does.

('The Weapon' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

“Then, too, you’ll notice that the disk is a little bit concave; that would tend to focus the rays to a point when they reached the forward lenses. The lenses straighten them out, so that they become plane or parallel, with no tendency to spread or converge. Thus they can be projected in the form of a slender and highly concentrated beam.”

Technovelgy from The Weapon, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
Additional resources -

Here's a description of the device in use:

Kent Marwell held the strange heat gun. Several times he held the small, lensed tube of its sighting device to his eye, trying to become accustomed to its intricacies. Finally he pressed the trigger, after aiming at a spot in the forest barrier where he had twice seen suspicious movement.

A THIN ROD of intense light shot out. The haze in its path glowed like tarnished silver. Flitting insects reflected the glare like bits of incandescent magnesium, before their smoking bodies dropped to the ground. The beam seared into the green foliage.

It also had the property of being able to slowly emit the light that it absorbed - including pictures!

“But the pictures, Peewee,” Corliss protested. “Why did everything in them happen backward ? Anyway, what caused us to see them when we peeked through the front lenses?

...Marwell almost chuckled. “Remember when we first found the thing?” he asked. “I was fussing with the lever. I didn’t press it much — just enough to release the tiniest bit of stored-up rays. But you can see what happened.”

“And now for an explanation of the pictures themselves. When the disk absorbs the sun’s rays, it, of course, absorbs an impression of the sun’s image, as well as impressions of the images of the various surrounding objects that are capable of reflecting light...

Then, when the plate is acted upon by the exciter, it gives up its images. If you can imagine a mirror whose reflective action can be delayed indefinitely, you have a crude analogy of what takes place. Only, since the last images to be absorbed, are given up first, and the first last, the sequence is, of course, in reverse.

Compare to the slow glass rod from The Exhalted, a 1940 short story by L. Sprague de Camp and the scenedows from Bob Shaw's 1968 story Light of Other Days. Probably the earliest references to the idea occurred in The Mirror That Remembered" (1932) by Christopher Blayre.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Weapon
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to The Weapon
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

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