Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Electrified Fence  
  A wire fence carrying an electrical charge sufficient to deter crossing the boundary.  

Well, how have you arranged the fence?"

"I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo in the cave--dynamo with no brushes except a positive and a negative one--"

"Yes, that's right."

"The wires go out from the cave and fence in a circle of level ground a hundred yards in diameter; they make twelve independent fences, ten feet apart--that is to say, twelve circles within circles--and their ends come into the cave again."

"Right; go on."

"The fences are fastened to heavy oaken posts only three feet apart, and these posts are sunk five feet in the ground."

"That is good and strong."

"Yes. The wires have no ground-connection outside of the cave. They go out from the positive brush of the dynamo; there is a ground-connection through the negative brush; the other ends of the wire return to the cave, and each is grounded independently."

"No, no, that won't do!"

"Why?" "It's too expensive--uses up force for nothing. You don't want any ground-connection except the one through the negative brush. The other end of every wire must be brought back into the cave and fastened independently, and _without_ any ground-connection. Now, then, observe the economy of it. A cavalry charge hurls itself against the fence; you are using no power, you are spending no money, for there is only one ground-connection till those horses come against the wire; the moment they touch it they form a connection with the negative brush _through the ground_, and drop dead.

From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark Twain.
Published by Not known in 1889
Additional resources -

Many sources credit Twain as the earliest source for this idea - but I think there is at least one earlier reference that should count.

In his 1875 epic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne writes about electrifying a stair rail or cable to prevent unwanted intrusions onto the Nautilus.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
  More Ideas and Technology by Mark Twain
  Tech news articles related to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
  Tech news articles related to works by Mark Twain

Articles related to Security
Indian Court Says Brain Scan Proves Murder
Background Draw-a-Secret (BDAS) Makes Graphical Passwords
ID-U Biometrics Eye Tracking Signature
PCASS And The Original Handheld Lie Detector

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

BMW's Remote Valet Parking Assistant
'Mary... claimed her car from the robopark...'

HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin
'Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin...'

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.