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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Harbenite  
  Ultralight metal.  

...Erich von Harben is something of a scientist and explorer himself, and the last time that I saw him he had just returned from a second expedition into the Wiramwazi Mountains, where he told me that he had discovered a lake-dwelling tribe using canoes made of a metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel. He brought some samples of the metal back with him..."

"...It is not my intention to weary you with a recital of the details of the organization and equipment of the Pellucidarian expedition, although that portion of it which relates to the search for and discovery of the native mine containing the remarkable metal now known as Harbenite, filled as it was with adventure and excitement, is well worth a volume by itself."

"...Exhaustive tests were made of the samples of Harbenite brought to Friedrichshafen by Jason Gridley. Plans were drawn, and by the time the shipment of the ore arrived everything was in readiness to commence immediate construction, which was carried on secretly. And six months later, when the O-220, as it was officially known, was ready to take the air, it was generally considered to be nothing more than a new design of the ordinary type of rigid airship, destined to be used as a common carrier upon one of the already numerous commercial airways of Europe. The great cigar-shaped hull of the O-220 was 997 feet in length and 150 feet in diameter. The interior of the hull was divided into six large, air-tight compartments, three of which, running the full length of the ship, were above the medial line and three below. Inside the hull and running along each side of the ship, between the upper and lower vacuum tanks, were long corridors in which were located the engines, motors and pumps, in addition to supplies of gasoline and oil. The internal location of the engine room was made possible by the elimination of fire risk, which is an ever-present source of danger in airships which depend for their lifting power upon hydrogen gas, as well as to the absolutely fireproof construction of the O-220; every part of which, with the exception of a few cabin fittings and furniture, was of Harbenite, this metal being used throughout except for certain bushings and bearings in motors, generators and propellers.

From Tarzan at the Eath's Core, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Published by Blue Book Magazine in 1929
Additional resources -

Compare to alohydrolium from Ralph 124c 41 + (1911) by Hugo Gernsback.

Thanks to Sky Brower for contributing this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Tarzan at the Eath's Core
  More Ideas and Technology by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  Tech news articles related to Tarzan at the Eath's Core
  Tech news articles related to works by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Harbenite-related news articles:
  - DARPA Seeks Science-Fictional Materials
  - Metal Composite Floats Your Boat
  - Boeing Creates Lightest Metal Ever
  - Strong Metal, Light Metal - Same Metal!
  - 3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!

Articles related to Material
Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!

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