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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, … because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Cloaking Device  
  A force field that renders an object invisible to human eyes as well as other sensor devices.  

I can't believe this idea only dates from the 1960's. More recently, this kind of idea has been incorporated in movies like Predator and the last James Bond movie.

When the Enterprise responds to a distress call from Outpost 4, Commander Hansen reports an attack underway by a ship that simply vanished.

You knew of the cloaking device that we have developed.
Technovelgy from Balance of Terror, by Paul Schneider.
Published by Paramount in 1966
Additional resources -

The Romulans were the first ones to have it; Kirk and Spock try to steal it in the original series episode titled "The The Enterprise Incident." This episode was first broadcast in December of 1966.

To hide something a bit smaller, like a person, see the invisible cloak from Brigands of the Moon (1930) by Ray Cummings.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Balance of Terror
  More Ideas and Technology by Paul Schneider
  Tech news articles related to Balance of Terror
  Tech news articles related to works by Paul Schneider

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