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"I would say 75% of the economy is now being run by ex-science-fiction fans."
- Greg Bear

Atomic Torch  
  An atomic-powered cutting and welding tool.  

They sprawled together in space. The technician, after his first surprise, displayed a wiry strength. He groped for his atomic torch, that would have cut Chan’s armor like paper.

“I’ve got a blaster.” Vibration of metal in furious contact carried Chan’s words. “But I don’t want your life—only your number and your keys.”

“Derron!” The man’s face went white within his helmet. “The convict—we were warned.” Chan grabbed for the torch. But the fight had gone out of the other. Limp with terror, he was gasping: “For God’s sake, Derron, don’t kill me. I’ll do anything you want!”

His name, it seemed to Chan, had grown stronger than his body! And more dangerous than any enemy. Swiftly, he took the prisoner’s tools, his work-sheet, his keys, and the number-plate—a black-stencilled yellow crescent—from his helmet. With the man’s own torch, he welded the shoulder-piece of his armor to the motor-house.

From One Against The Legion, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding in 1939
Additional resources -

Compare to nuclear shears from Foundation (1951) by Isaac Asimov, the toaster from Accidental Flight (1952) by WF Wallace, the Slaver disintegrator from Ringworld (1970) by Larry Niven and the Lasgun from Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from One Against The Legion
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to One Against The Legion
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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