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"it slowly dawned on me that the landscape of science is maybe what interests people a great deal in science fiction."
- Gregory Benford

Spacewarp Drive  
  A means of faster-than-light travel.  

This is the first use of this full term, which eventually gets you to the phrase "warp drive", so familiar to Star Trek fans.

The year nineteen hundred and three. Professor George Yardley, an American scientist at Harvard University, had discovered the spacewarp drive.

Accidentally!

He had been working on, of all things, his wife's sewing machine, which had been broken and discarded. He was trying to rig it up so the treadle would run a tiny homemade generator to give him a high=frequency low-voltage current that he wanted to use in some class experiments in physics.

He'd finished making his connections - and fortunately he remembered afterwards just what they'd been and where he'd made his mistake - he'd worked the treadle a few times when his foot stamped unexpectedly on the floor and he nearly fell forward out of his chair.

The sewing machine, treadle and generator and all, just wasn't there any more.

Technovelgy from What Mad Universe, by Frederic Brown.
Published by E.P. Dutton in 1949
Additional resources -

See the article on space warp from Jack Williamson's 1936 novel The Cometeers, the earliest use of the term.

Perhaps the earliest use of the phrase itself occurred in Yachting Party by Fox B. Holden in 1952:

Travel in “free” Space, the ordinary three- dimensional kind, was measured in miles; warp-travel was measured in parsecs. “Free” speed, with old-fashioned fuel-eating jets which were supposed to be carried as emergency power units only, was forty thousand miles a second it best — warp-speed, depending on the dimension you used, had a top of better than a thousand light-years a minute. Leaving your warp to poke around in ordinary three-dimensional Space on jets was like leaving your surface-car parked on a speedway to hike up a side-road on foot. You had to get back to the speedway to get home.

The first use of the idea of a faster-than-light drive is probably that of the inertialess drive from 'Doc Smith's 1934 novel Triplanetary.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from What Mad Universe
  More Ideas and Technology by Frederic Brown
  Tech news articles related to What Mad Universe
  Tech news articles related to works by Frederic Brown

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