Collection Division 1 contains Sessions One through Six with Eugene Stoner. Stoner discussed his career and philosophy of small arms design, the development of the
M16, the Stoner 63 weapon system, the ARES Light Machine Gun, the Advance Individual Weapon System, and his work on medium and heavy cannon since the mid-1970s. Ezell complemented
the interviews with extensive visual documentation of the weapons discussed. Sessions were recorded at the offices, shop floor, and grounds of ARES Incorporated in Port Clinton,
Ohio, in April 1988.
Stoner was born in Gasport, Indiana, in 1922. After graduating from high school in Long Beach, California, he installed armament equipment for Vega Aircraft Company. During
World War II he enlisted in the Aviation Ordnance section of the U.S. Marine Corps. In late 1945 he began working in the machine shop for Whittaker, an aircraft equipment
company, and ultimately became a Design Engineer. In the mid-1950s Stoner was hired as the Chief of Engineering for the ArmaLite Division of the Fairchild Engine and Aircraft
Corporation where he developed the prototypes for the M16 automatic rifle. Since then he has developed over one hundred patents in the ordnance field for four companies, including
ARES Incorporated, which he co-founded in 1971. Having retired from ARES in 1989, Stoner continues to consult with company engineers on design and fabrication innovations.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9532, Twentieth Century Small Arms Development Interviews