TRIBUTE TO INVENTOR AUSTIN STANTON
HON. RALPH M. HALL
in the House of Representatives
Friday, March 3, 1995
Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an outstanding American, Austin N. Stanton, who died
November 27, 1994, at the age of 91 following a brief illness. Austin Stanton was the inventor of microcircuitry--the precursor
to the computer age. He was a long-time resident of Garland, TX, and lived in Bonham, TX, in my Fourth Congressional District,
during the past 8 years.
Austin Stanton dared to dream, and through hard work and determination made those dreams come true. Born on
May 31,1903, in Cromwell, IA, to Harriet L. Stanton, teacher, and the Rev. Jay B. Stanton, pastor and teacher, he left home
at the age of 12 and worked at various odd jobs until he decided as a teenager that he should develop his own potential. He
hopped a freight train to State University of Iowa and paid his way through school by working as a night serviceman for a
power company. He received a B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering from the university in 1925, followed by an M.S. degree
in physics in 1927. His thesis, ``Phenomena in Resonance Radiation of Cesium,'' was the foundation for later scientific and
He was married in 1926 to Margaret L. Saveraid, and following college, they drove to Texas, where Mr. Stanton began
working with a seismograph crew in oil exploration. From 1927 to 1945 he gained experience in geophysics and electronics,
serving as president of Geophysical Exploration Co. and Texas Geophysical Co., both of Dallas, and as associate professor
and acting head of the electrical engineering department and head of the preradar school, U.S. Army, at Southern Methodist
University in Dallas.
In 1945, he founded Varo Corp. in an old building on his farm in Garland, TX, with about $800 in capital. The building
was converted into a laboratory, and his young, small staff began work on the design for a revolutionary power conversion
unit for military aircraft. They also developed tiny power supplies, microcircuitry, and precision timing devices for space
vehicles. Varo conceived and developed the first light-amplifying, night-vision telescope, first electronic inverters, and
the first microcircuits. Microcircuitry led to the development of integrated circuits, which brought about the computer age.
Varo was the only producer and supplier of microcircuitry for more than 5 years. Their microcircuit transmitter was donated
to the Smithsonian Institution, where it was placed on display. When Mr. Stanton retired as chairman of the board of Varo
in 1967, he had parlayed his $800 investment into a successful $60 million per year international business. He also provided
advice and assistance to Texas Instruments Co. in the microelectronics field.
Since 1967 Mr. Stanton has been actively
involved in developing advanced technology. He was chairman of the board of the Keller Corp. and Methacoal Corp., both research
and development companies and leaders in various phases of the alternative fuels, power and energy, electric generation, and
waste utilization fields. With Leonard J. Keller, an expert in engineering, he developed Ambient Energy Corp, and built the
first Ambient Energy Home, a model of affordable, all-electric energy homes. In 1990 he coinvented the cleanest, most efficient,
and least costly coal-based electric generating plant in the world. He earned approximately 40 patents during his lifetime
and was actively involved in technology development until his recent illness.
Mr. Stanton was for many years a personal friend and associate of Wernher von Braun, the principal scientist of space-age
technology. He provided valuable assistance to Von Braun and was the first to propose the commercialization of space. He made
presentations on the subject at the first international conference on space utilization.
Austin Stanton also was a philanthropist. Before he moved to Bonham from Garland, he donated 25 acres of land near downtown
Garland and pledged $350,000 in Varo stock--which later sold for $1 million--for construction of a hospital, which became
the nucleus of Baylor Medical Center in Garland. He also contributed more than 100 acres of ranch land to the city's parks
and recreation system.
Austin Stanton received many awards during his lifetime, including ``Pioneer of the Space Age'' award from the U.S. Army
and the ``Lloyd Berkner Space Utilization'' award and the ``Pioneer and Leader in Space and Microelectronics'' award from
the American Astronautical Society. He was a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and the British Interplanetary Society
and a member of Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Margaret L. Stanton, 2 daughters, a sister, 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren,
and 3 great-great-grandchildren. He was a good friend of mine, and he will be missed and remembered by all those who knew
It is a rare privilege, Mr. Speaker, to have the opportunity to pay tribute to this singular individual, who shared his
talents and the fruits of his labors with his country, his community, his peers, and his family. Austin Stanton's life
touched our lives in many ways-- through scientific and technological advances, in our defense and space programs, and in
our environmental efforts. As we adjourn today, Mr. Speaker, I ask my Colleagues to join me in paying our last respects to
a truly great American--Austin Stanton.