"Science fiction is the very literature of change. In fact, it is the only such literature we have."
This is the earliest reference found (thus far) in science fiction for the idea of a cylindrical space station that is spun to create artificial gravity.
This same idea is stated in detail in The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor, written by Herman Potočnik (pseudonym Hermann Noordung) in 1928. The book was published in German in 1929, and was translated into Russian in 1935; it was finally translated into english by NASA in 1999).
(Herman Potočnik Habitat Wheel (author's illustration))
These conditions are, however, best fulfilled when the station is laid out in the shape of a large wheel as previously indicated: the rim of the wheel is composed out of cells and has the form of a ring braced by wire spokes towards the axis. Its interior is separated into individual rooms by partitions; all rooms are accessible from a wide corridor going around the entire station. There are individual rooms, larger sleeping bays, work and study areas, mess hall, laboratory, workshop, dark room, etc., as well as the usual utility areas, such as a kitchen, bath room, laundry room and similar areas. All rooms are furnished with modern day comforts; even cold and warm water lines are available. In general, the rooms are similar to those of a modern ship. They can be furnished just like on Earth because an almost normal, terrestrial gravitational state exists in these rooms...
His ideas spread rapidly in the nascent rocketry and aeronautics groups of the time, despite the lack of translations; it's likely that Williamson picked up on them.
Thanks to Fred Kiesche of The Eternal Golden Braid for providing the quote for this item.
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