chronoscope n.

a device for viewing events in the past or future

SF Encyclopedia

Time Travel

  • 1936 ‘D. A. Stuart’ Elimination in Astounding Stories May 57/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    I shouldn’t have told the police about my chronoscope. But I put the apparatus in, and I think I got it in right, and John, it makes the near-future images better, but what do you think—it cuts out some of the long-range tracks.

  • 1938 J. Williamson Legion of Time in Astounding Science-Fiction May 22/2 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    Mere probability is all that is left. And my first actual invention was a geodesic tracer, designed for its analysis. It was a semi-mathematical instrument, essentially a refinement of the old harmonic analyzer. Tracing the possible world-lines of material particles through Time, it opened a window to futurity…Here is the chronoscope…The latest development of the instrument. Scansion depends upon a special curved field, through which a sub-etheric radiation is bent into the time-axis, projected forward, and reflected from electronic fields back to the instrument. A stereoscopic image is obtained within the crystal screen, through selective fluorescence to the beat frequencies of the interfering carrier waves projected at right angles from below.

  • 1940 Astounding Science-Fiction Aug. 6 page image John W. Campbell, Jr.

    Wanted: a chronoscope. Such a time viewer would be darned handy in many ways, but at the moment—and this moment in which I am writing is so long gone as to be difficult to recall from its point of history by the time this is read—one would be useful in devising this page.

  • 1948 A. H. Rapp Flaming Fans in Chronoscope Autumn 1 (title) Arthur H. Rapp


  • 1956 I. Asimov Dead Past in Astounding Science Fiction Apr. 8/1 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    You must realize, Dr. Potterley, that chronoscopy, or time-viewing, if you prefer, is a difficult process…And there is a long waiting line for the chronoscope and an even longer waiting line for the use of Multivac which guides us in our use of the controls.

  • 1958 J. W. Campbell in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 106 page image John W. Campbell, Jr.

    The editorial chronoscope, whereby we precog the future, developed a fault, somehow, when we were making up the July issue.

  • 1987 D. S. Garnett Only One in J. Clute et al. Interzone: 3rd Anthology (1988) 58

    If the chronoscope (as I named it) fell into the wrong hands, the consequences did not bear contemplation.

  • 2002 J. Byrne 2019: Father to the Man in Superman & Batman: Generations 2 (#4) Jan. 172 page image John L. Byrne

    ‘It’s a chronoscope, Grandfather. A time-viewer!’ ‘How’s that again??’ ‘This artifact of my lost homeworld allows a viewer to look backwards and forwards through time.’

Research requirements

any evidence 1936

Earliest cite

'Don A. Stuart', 'Elimination'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1940 cite from an editorial by John Campbell in Astounding.
Alistair Durie submitted a 1948 cite from the title of Red Boggs' fanzine of the same name.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1959 reprint of Isaac Asimov's "The Dead Past", which Mike Christie verified in its 1956 first publication.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1976 reprint of John W. Campbell's "Elimination": Mike Christie verified this in its first publication (Astounding Stories, May, 1936, as by Don A. Stuart)
Ralf Brown located a cite in an etext of Jack Williamson's "The Man from Somewhere": we would like to verify this from the print publication (Asimov's Science Fiction, October/November 2003.)
Malcolm Farmer submitted cites from a 1977 reprint of Jack Williamson's "the Legion of Time" which Mike Christie verified in its first publication (serial in Astounding Science Fiction May-June 1938)
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2002 comics cite from John Byrne.

The OED has a non-sf usage, as a device for measuring or observing time, but not the SF sense.

Last modified 2021-10-03 14:48:43
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.