Full record for heat ray n.

OED requirements antedating 1898
Earliest cite H. G. Wells, 'War of the Worlds'
Comment Jeff Prucher submitted a 1931 cite from Clark Ashton Smith's "An Adventure in Futurity". Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from William F. Temple's "A Date to Remember". Fred Galvin submitted a 1953 cite from L. Sprague de Camp's "Science-Fiction Handbook". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1949 reprint of Isaac Asimov's 1942 "Victory Unintentional". Fred Galvin submitted a 1932 cite from Thomas D. Gardner's "The Last Woman". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1950 reprint of Leslie F. Stone's 1934 "The Rape of the Solar System". Fred Galvin submitted a 1946 cite from Bryce Walton's "Princess of Chaos". Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from Lester del Rey's "Pursuit".

OED quote for "ray, n.1 (I.5.c)" is from HG Wells War of the Worlds (1898): "Only the fact that a hummock of heathery sand intercepted the lower part of the Heat-Ray saved them."

Unsubmitted cites:
Mike has quote from Jun 1943 ASF, 13/1
Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for heat ray n.

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1930 J. W. Campbell Black Star Passes in Amazing Stories Q. Fall 521/2 The heat ray was, even when working at full capacity, quite ineffective against the ten-man ships, when produced by the small mechanism of the Nigrian one-man ships, but the great rays from the monster interstellar liners were fatal.
1931 C. A. Smith Adventure in Futurity in Wonder Stories Apr. 1248/2 With our heat-rays and other weapons we might wipe out the revolutionists in time; but the plagues they have brought in are a different problem.
1932 T. D. Gardner Last Woman in Wonder Stories Apr. 1240/2 There were two million Scientists and over five hundred thousand metal men. Atomic Physicist SQ132 had developed the heat ray twelve years before. In thirty-four days of battle every woman, child, and man other than the Scientists died. At last Science had triumphed.
1941 Cosmic Stories Mar. “Disintegraters, heat-rays, bombs of every type. And impenetrable shields of energy, massive and portable. What more do I need?”
1949 I. Asimov Victory Unintentional in Invasion From Mars: Interplanetary Stories 144 Definitely a heat ray of some sort.
1952 ‘L. del Rey’ Pursuit in Space Sci. Fiction May 10/2 He couldn't believe that there had been time enough for any group to invent a heat-ray, if such a thing could exist. Yet nothing else would explain the two sudden bursts of flame he had seen.
1953 L. S. de Camp Science Fiction Handbook 195 A huge arm comes through the window and gropes around until the leader burns it off with his heat-ray gun and hears the monster shamble off in the darkness.
1953 L. S. de Camp Science Fiction Handbook 16 The Martians are conquering the earth with their heat-rays and other super-weapons when they succumb to Terran bacteria.
1966 S. Delany Babel-17 iii. v. 170 A Ciribian heat ray‥.They won't use it unless they're attacked.