Full record for tractor n.

Definition = tractor beam
OED requirements antedating 1931
Earliest cite E. E. 'Doc' Smith 'Spacehounds of IPC'
Comment Jeff Prucher submitted a 1956 cite for the form "tractor" from Poul Anderson's "Margin of Profit".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a reprint of George R.R. Martin's "Night Shift"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1973 original magazine appearance.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1977 cite from Alan Dean Foster's "The End of the Matter".
Mike Christie submitted a 1949 cite from James Schmitz' "Agent of Vega".
Sue Surova submitted a 1999 cite from Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski's "Star Trek: The Next Generation: Dyson Sphere".
Michael Dolbear submitted a cite from a 1988 reprint of Lois McMaster Bujold's "Shards of Honor".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1997 reprint of David Weber's 1993 "On Basilisk Station".
Douglas Winston submitted cites from a 1983 reprint of E.E. 'Doc' Smith's "Spacehounds of IPC", which Alistair Durie verified in the 1931 magazine serialization.
Last modified 18 June, 2009

Citations for tractor n.

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1931 E. E. Smith Spacehounds of IPC in Amazing Stories July 308/1 Soon they arrived at their objective and maintained a position well in the van, but not sufficiently far ahead of the rest to call forth a restraining ray from their captors. Already strongly affected by the gravitational pull of the mass of the satellite, many of the smaller portions of the wreck, not directly held by the tractors, began to separate from the main mass. As each bit left its place another beam leaped out, until it became apparent that no more were available, and Stevens strapped the girl and himself down before two lookout plates.
1931 E. E. Smith Spacehounds of IPC in Amazing Stories Aug. 411/1 Day after day the brilliant sphere flew toward distant Saturn, with the wreckage of the Forlorn Hope in tow. Piece by piece that wreckage was brought together and held in place by the Titanian tractors; and slowly but steadily, under Stevens' terrific welding projector, the stubborn steel flowed together, once more to become a seamless, space-worthy structure.
1940 E. E. Smith in Astounding Sci. Fiction Jan. 107/2 ‘Tractors and pressors as assigned—tip him over.’ The intensity of the bombardment did not slacken, but from the maulers to the north there reached out pressors, from those upon the south came tractors; each a beam of terrific power, each backed by all the mass and all the driving force of a veritable flying fortress.
1949 Astounding Sci. Fiction July 34/2 When he does, spear him with a tractor and tell him he's being held for investigation, because there's a General Emergency out!
1949 Astounding Sci. Fiction July 35/2 Took off—under space-drive!‥. How'd he do that without wrecking—With a tractor on him!
1956 P. Anderson in Astounding Sci. Fiction Sept. 58/1 A pressor beam lashed out, an invisible hammerblow of repulsion, five times the strength of the enemy tractor.
1973 G. R. R. Martin in Amazing Stories Jan. 45/2 Several light tractor beams did not have the power of one heavy-duty one, simply because it was difficult to coordinate them. To be at all effective, paired tractors had to lift at the same time and yank in the same direction.
1986 L. M. Bujold Shards of Honor (1988) 269 The doctor attached a 'scope to his shoulder, and went fishing for the short circuit with a delicate surgical hand tractor.
1987 J. M. Ford How much for Just Planet? 36 They're headed straight for the surface‥. Any deeper in the gravity well and the tractors won't be reliable.
1993 D. Weber On Basilisk Station (1997) 69 Her pilot completed his final approach, and the cutter shivered as Warlock's tractors captured it. It rolled on its gyros, aligning itself with the heavy cruiser's internal gravity as the brilliantly-lit cavern of Warlock's boat bay engulfed them, then settled into the docking cradle.
1999 C. Pellegrino & G. Zebrowski Star Trek Next Generation: Dyson Sphere ix. 139 Riker had a plan for beaming clusters of pulse engines into the holds of the shuttles‥strapping tractor devices to their hulls, and sending them into Dyson uncrewed.