Tales of Future Past v2

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Death Rays

Now this is serious mad science stuff.

We present Signor Giulio Ulivi, an Italian engineer who supposedly could destroy warships at the touch of a button, swat Zeppelins from the sky, and for whom torpedoes were as gnats. It was the F-Ray; the ultimate weapon. Don't believe me? Then consider the Electrical Experimenter from October 1913:

By utilizing infrared rays, an Italian engineer named Ulivi, claims to have discovered a method of causing the explosion of torpedoes, submarine mines and other death dealing devices at distances of fourteen or fifteen miles from the spot whence rays are transmitted wirelessly.

French war office specialists, such as General De Castellnau and Major Ferrie, head of the Eiffel Tower wireless telegraph station, recently went to Havre and boarded a yacht, from which Ulivi operated his apparatus. From this yacht Ulivi caused the apparently spontaneous explosion of torpedoes placed at distances extending to fifteen miles.

Details of the apparatus are kept secret, but it has been learned that a powerful projector is first employed to search for the presence of certain metals within a given radius. The infrared rays, which scientists say have 300,000,000,000 of vibrations per second, are directed toward the spot selected. Any explosive in the vicinity immediately explodes.

Should further experiments confirm the inventor's claim, naval war will become impossible, for Ulivi's apparatus will cause explosion on warships situated fifteen miles from the spot where his apparatus is being operated wirelessly.

He will also be able to destroy military airships and aeroplanes which have metallic framework and carry explosives, such as the Zeppelin, German army type.

Or not, as the case may be. Personally, I would have taken a closer look at the "torpedoes" (tethered sea mines, presumably) beforehand.

After this, Signor Ulivi seems to have faded from history, save for some snippy comments from Nikola Tesla that Ulivi had stolen the whole idea from him.

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