ultraphone n.

a communications device that transmits messages faster than the speed of light

Rare. Obs.
Also ultrophone.



  • 1928 P. F. Nowlan Armageddon: 2419 A.D. in Amazing Stories Aug. 427/1 page image Philip Francis Nowlan bibliography

    Finally a scout equipped with an ultrophone, which, unlike the ancient radio, operated on the ultronic ethereal vibrations, would pass the warning simultaneously to the headquarters of the Wyoming Gang and other communities within a radius of several hundred miles.

  • 1928 P. F. Nowlan Armageddon: 2419 A.D. in Amazing Stories Aug. 433/1 page image Philip Francis Nowlan bibliography

    In addition, we each received an ultrophone, and a light inertron blanket rolled into a cylinder about six inches long by two or three in diameter.

  • 1934 E. E. Smith Skylark of Valeron in Astounding Stories Dec. 148/1 page image Dave Smeds bibliography

    Radnor’s reply to Siblin’s message was unheard, for his ultraphones were not upon his person, but were lying disregarded in a corner of the room in which their owner had undergone examination by his captors.

  • 1950 J. Blish Okie in Astounding Science-Fiction Apr. 85/2 page image James Blish

    The ultraphone growled and stopped transmitting.

  • 1952 J. Blish in Galaxy Aug. 6/1 James Blish

    If they had, maybe they’d have left us our ultraphone, so the Colonization Council could hear about our cropper.

  • 1955 J. Blish Earthman Come Home (1974) 37 James Blish

    β€˜Ahoy the Okie city,’ the ultraphone barked savagely. β€˜You've had one warning. Pay up and clear out of here, or we'll break you up.’

Research requirements

any evidence 1928

Earliest cite

P.F. Nowlan, in Amazing Stories

Research History
Sue Surova submitted a 1952 cite from James Blish's "The Seedling Stars".
Ralf Brown submitted a cite from a reprint of Philip Francis Nowlan's "Armageddon: 2419 A.D."; the reprint edition is undated but from internal evidence is early 1970s. Andy Sawyer submitted a separate 1928 cite from this novel.
Alistair Durie checked the 1928 publication in Amazing Stories, and found that the word was actually "ultrophone" in the original printing.
Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1974 reprint of James Blish's "Earthman Come Home".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1966 reprint of E.E. Smith's 1949 "The Skylark of Valeron", which Mike Christie verified in its 1934 first publication.
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1950 cite from James Blish, in Astounding.

We would like cites of any date by other authors.

Last modified 2022-02-01 19:26:54
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.