The transporter was famously used in Star Trek to save money. The transporter saved them from having to build sets for planetary landing shuttle crafts. It was a novel concept, but nothing’s new under the sun. In Edward Page Mitchell’s story “The Man Without a Body,” a scientist develops a method of disassembling a living being’s atoms and transmitting them over a telegraph wire. But when he attempts to transmit himself, the telegraph battery dies after only his head has materialized.
In Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1910 story “Remote Projection,” the scientist discovers that his transporter is simply creating clones, 841 of them to be exact, scattered all over the world, much like Commander Riker’s transporter clone Thomas.
And George Langelaan’s 1957 short story, “The Fly,” is another story of teleportation that predates Star Trek. The Fly is a horror story about a scientist whose atoms are mixed with that of a fly when he teleports himself, and was memorably adapted for film twice, by Vincent Price, in the 50s, and then by David Cronenberg in the 80s.
Now, I am going to break one of my own rules here and talk about the philosophical implications of the transporter. “Is the person who arrives at the destination really the same person who dematerialized?”, “Is it essentially a suicide machine?”, and all that jazz because these questions predate Trek too, and are an integral part of the fictional technology Polish philosopher Stanislav Lem was obsessed with the “teletransportation paradox,” writing about it in his philosophical texts “Dialogs” in 1957 and “Summa Technologiae” in 1964, as well as his “Star Diaries” short story series. But amazingly the question at the heart of the paradox was addressed by Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid in a letter he wrote in 1775!
"“I would be glad to know your Lordship’s opinion whether when my brain has lost its original structure, and when some hundred years after the same materials are fabricated so curiously as to become an intelligent being, whether, I say that being will be me; or, if, two or three such beings should be formed out of my brain; whether they will all be me, and consequently one and the same intelligent being.” Next: Number 6."