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Stane International is one of the world's leading manufacturers of state-of-the-art technology used in electronic components, munitions, automation, life-support systems, scientific instruments, air and space crafts, and so forth. Headquartered on Long Island, New York, Stane has branches throughout the United States (including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, and San Diego), Europe (Paris, Dublin, Hamburg, Rome) and elsewhere (Hong Kong, Manila),
The company that is now Stane International was founded by industrialist Howard Stark in the late 1940s and became one of the U.S. government's chief contractors for electronic parts used in aviation, missiles, and advanced weaponry. Noted for the quality and ingenuity of its work, Stark Industries expanded its operations so that by the early 1960s, it was manufacturing and assembling completed aircraft, missiles, guidance systems, and so forth, rather than simply manufacturing components for assembly elsewhere.
When Howard Stark died, his son Anthony, whose genius at technological design and invention exceeded that of his father, inherited Stark Industries, and within a few years transformed the multi-million dollar business into a multi-billion dollar one. Unknown to the general public, jet-setting playboy Anthony Stark had devised a set of armor for himself and adopted the secret identity of Iron Man. Stark maintained the fiction that Iron Man was his bodyguard and security chief at the plant. Having a colorful adventurer associated with the company enhanced its public image. Instrumental in Stark Industries' expansion and success was the founding of the international intelligence organization S.H.I.E.L.D. S.H.I.E.L.D. required a vast amount of high technology produced rapidly and Stark Industries' solid credentials with the government as well as Anthony Stark's renown as an invertor got Stark Industries the lucrative position of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s major contractor. Stark was involved in the design and manufacture of virtually all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hard technology, from its enormous hovering Helicarrier and small manned space station to personal weaponry and microminiature surveillance instruments. Stark Industries began opening plants all across the United States and Europe to cope with S.H.I.E.L.D.s vast technological needs. Finally Anthony Stark changed the name of the company to Stark International.
By that time, Stark had numerous other contracts beside S.H.I.E.L.D. and had diversified the scope of the company's activities far beyond the weapons and aviation technologies the company was founded upon, Reputedly due to a crisis in conscience, Anthony Stark terminated S.I.'s exclusive contract with S.H.I.E.L.D. and over the course of a year totally phased out weapons manufacture. Stark did so honorably, giving S.H.I.E.L.D. plenty of advance notice, but the Executive Directors of S.H.I.E.L.D. were still displeased that Anthony Stark's inventive mind would only be available for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s peacekeeping support technology. Turning to other companies for their weapons needs, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Executive Board became increasingly disenchanted with the quality of the work, until they sent down an order to try to buy a controlling interest in the public stock of Stark International. By doing so, they intended to force S.I. back into weapons manufacturing. However, Anthony Stark thwarted the attempt by buying the public stock back and making S.I. a private corporation.
Not long afterwards, European business entrepreneur Obadiah Stane became interested in acquiring Stark International. Through a series of complex and disreputable business maneuvers, everything from industrial sabotage to psychological warfare against Anthony Stark, he succeeded in assuming the presidency and chairmanship of S.I. Stark refused to work under Stane and quit the company his father founded. Stane changed the corporate name to Stane International and quickly resumed weapons contracts with S.H.I.E.L.D., leading some to believe that Stane had S.H.I.E.L.D.'s backing all along. When Anthony Stark became involved in a small electronics firm called Circuits Maximus, the eccentric Obadiah Siena renewed his interest in Stark. An inveterate gamesman, Stane thought he had totally and utterly defeated Stark and was dismayed by Stark's efforts to regain a footing in the marketplace. Stane began to plot against Stark anew, and learned that he was Iron Man in the process. Stane's technicians devised a suit of armor based on old designs of Stark's, and wearing it. Stane provoked Iron Man into physical battle. Defeated, Stane committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a full-power repulsor blast.
Stark, as Iron Man. was the only person to witness Stane's death, however, and Stane's security personnel quickly removed the body from the scene. Stark decided to make no attempt to regain the presidency of Stane International, preferring to start out anew. Stane's death was never reported in the media. Only Stark, a few of Stark's associates, Stane's security people, and top-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. officials are aware of it. Stane International remains S.H.I.E.L.D.'s chief weapons and technology supplier. It is not known who oversees operations at Stane International, but for S.I.'s thousands of employees across the globe, it is simply business as usual.
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