霍华德 said that the arc reactor was a stepping stone to something greater.
During the later years of his life, sometime after his involvement in World War II, Howard Stark developed the idea for an alternative power source that could provide clean energy to benefit his humanitarian views for the future of mankind. Howard began working alongside Anton Vanko and together they eventually designed the first Arc Reactor, which Howard began to develop through his company, Stark Industries.
While Howard saw the Arc Reactor as a way to create a new, cleaner method to replace nuclear power, Anton only saw it as an idea he could sell to get rich. Due to this, Howard accused him of espionage and had him deported back to Russia, an event that later motivated his son, Ivan Vanko, to use the Arc Reactor technology to seek revenge on 托尼·斯塔克 for ruining their lives.
Eventually, a large Arc Reactor for industrial energy production was created to power Stark Industries Headquarters in Los Angeles. However, the Arc Reactor project soon hit a standstill as it was limited by the technology available at the time.
In the years after Howard's death the Arc Reactor project became a non-priority to the company as it was steered towards mainly producing weapons, with the then acting CEO, Obadiah Stane, regarding the clean energy project as a "publicity stunt".
托尼·斯塔克 was able to build this in a cave...with a bunch of scraps!
During the 十戒帮 attack and capture of 托尼·斯塔克, a bomb exploded near Stark, causing shrapnel to enter his body near his heart, threatening his life. However, Dr. Ho Yinsen created a way to stop the shrapnel by using a powerful electromagnet and a car battery. Stark knew that to stand a better chance of survival he had to replace the relatively weak car battery. Thus, he adapted the design of the large Arc Reactor that powered his factory and created a miniaturized reactor that could fit in his hand, giving him a compact and powerful power source that fit directly into his chest and was guaranteed not to fail from normal use.
In order to escape from the Ten Rings captivity, Stark and Dr. Yinsen created a rudimentary suit of powered armor to help them escape. Once Stark got back to America, he and his AI J.A.R.V.I.S. created a much more powerful version of the miniaturized Arc Reactor, modified to independently power more advanced versions of his armored suit, which he later dubbed the Iron Man suit.
Obadiah Stane commissioned William Ginter Riva and other Stark Industries scientists to duplicate a miniature version of the Arc Reactor to use it in his own suit of powered armor; however, they could not, believing the technology was not yet possible. Stane admonished that Stark was able to do it himself in a cave using even less resources. Ultimately, Stane stole the Arc Reactor from Stark's chest to power his Iron Monger Armor.
During the Duel of Los Angeles, Stark and Pepper Potts destroyed the Iron Monger suit and killed Stane by overloading the Arc Reactor powering the Stark Industries facility, discharging a massive amount of electricity through the suit and electrocuting Stane, who then fell into the exploding reactor.
Soon, Stark eventually learned that the 钯 cores from the Arc Reactor were poisoning him as the Arc Reactor burned through them, which was accelerated by his use of the Iron Man armor. Tony was able to fix this problem by replacing the Palladium cores completely by creating a 新元素 based on 霍华德·斯塔克's original research. This created the “perfected” version of the Arc Reactor that Howard had originally designed, but had been unable to create due to the technological limitations at the time.
最终托尼·斯塔克 decided to continue his father's ideals to use the Arc Reactor to provide clean energy for the world. In order to capitalize on this ideal, 托尼·斯塔克 created a redesigned Industrial Arc Reactor to power the newly built Stark Tower in New York City. The tower was completely removed from the city power grid and ran entirely from the Arc Reactor in order to make Stark Tower a “beacon of clean energy” and show the world the capability of Arc Reactor technology on a large scale.