The Original Armor keep Tony Stark's heart beating after the shrapnel reached his heart in Tales of Suspense #39.

The Original Gray Armor, Model I, Mark I. Made from spare parts, it's a miracle that Iron Man's first suit of armor even worked. Constructed quickly as an escape plan, it was bulky, battleship gray and most definitely, low-tech. That said, the suit is a miracle of technology, advanced beyond its time and it put Iron Man on the map.

A fantastic leap in the infant technology of the day-transistors-Tony Stark's lifesaving suit was run by highly miniaturized, mighty electronic transistors. These transistors are the heart of the Iron Man armor, allowing not only compactness but a massive amplification of energy. Control of the armor was rendered by revolutionary transistor circuits that were coordinated to Stark's brainwaves--Just as his brain controls his own body, Tony could manipulate the armor with just a thought. The electronic exoskeleton boosted Stark's strength to superhuman levels-Employing negative feedback body motion sensing. The actual movement was powered by flat, linear DC armature motors.

This first armor had a semi-rigid interior with a 3-D knitted metallic exterior made from actual, ordinary iron. Thin and flexible, the cast iron body could resist small arms fire, glancing blows and laser fire. And thanks to Stark's knowledge of microscopic transistors, the armor could be folded over and over, compacted into a thin bundle small enough to fit into an attache case. This is a particularly stunning achievement when you consider that Stark could don the armor in exactly one minute.

The most important feature of this suit is its original task, to function as a lifesaving device for Tony Stark. The main component, the chestplate, is both a pacemaker and a powerful magnet. The pacemaker side keeps Stark's ruptured heart pumping, while the magnet holds the shrapnel that is lodged in his heart in place-Preventing it from further tearing into his heart. Because of his ailing condition Stark could never remove the chestpiece, which was worn under his clothes. (He kept the rest of the armor in an attache case that had a secret, X-ray proof compartment in which to hide the suit. The armor could be removed from the case, quickly unfolded and attached to the core assembly for the transformation into Iron Man.) Stress and strain on the armor, produced strain on Stark's heart. Likewise, drops in the armor's power levels proved nearly fatal on numerous occasions. Fortunately this suit could recharge in regular wall outlets, which was a rather convenient feature seeing as this first armor seems to have been rather energy intensive, the superhero equivalent of a gas guzzler.

The mightiest weapon in this first armor was the power of "Reverse Magnetism," a kind of early repulsor and more. By reversing the charge on a magnetic turbo insulator, and then utilizing an ingenious top-hat transistor to increase its repelling power a thousand fold, Tony Stark can use the mighty power of "Reverse Magnetism" to thwart criminals and undo evil.

Transistor-Powered Air Pressure Jets in the boots allowed for short range flight. Steering in these early flights was accomplished by "body english."

Although early communications equipment is undocumented in this model, it did have the ability to interfere with radio and closed-circuit broadcasts.

The Special Feature On This Suit: An accessory belt that contains many ingenious devices such as Gauntlet Suction Cups in the palms and a Miniature Buzz Saw that can outperform anything a dozen times its size (mounted in the index finger).

Armaments: Chest-Mounted Proton Beam Generator (short range of only several yards); Early Repulsor (based on reverse magnetism).

This page is copyright 2001, 2002, 2005 Tim Rassbach.

Iron Man and all associated characters are the property of Marvel Comics.

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