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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Plani-Glass  
  Transparent and light and has the tensile strength of steel!  

The material was plani-glass, a transparent composition of Webb's invention. Its tensile strength was that of fine-wrought steel, but its lightness greater than that of aluminium. In its normal state it transmitted all the beating waves of space without let or hindrance; when polarized, however, only the wave lengths of light could slide along the latticed crystals. Neither electricity, magnetism, X rays nor cosmic rays could force their lethal energies through the impenetrable barrier.
From Crystalized Thought, by Nat Schachner.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1937
Additional resources -

Olaf Stapledon wrote about an artificial transparent element in his 1930 classic Last and First Men.

See also glassite from Ray Cummings' 1930 novel Brigands of the Moon and the helio-beryllium alloy that also had a transparent variant, as found in Out Around Rigel, a 1931 story by Robert H. Wilson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Crystalized Thought
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner
  Tech news articles related to Crystalized Thought
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner

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