This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Carbons are either moulded or forced from a product known as petroleum coke or from similar materials such as lampblack. The material is thoroughly dried by heating to a high temperature, then ground to a find powder, and combined with some substance such as pitch which binds the fine particles of carbon together. After this mixture is again ground it is ready for moulding. The powder is put in steel moulds and heated until it takes the form of a paste, when the necessary pressure is applied to the moulds. For the forced carbons, the powder is formed into cylinders which are placed in machines which force the material through a die so arranged as to give the desired diameter. The forced carbons are often made with a core of some special material,this core being added after the carbon proper has been finished. The carbons, whether moulded or forced, must be carefully baked to drive off all volatile matter. The forced carbon is always more uniform in quality and crosssection, and is the type of carbon which must be used in the carbon-feed lamp. The adding of a core of a different material seems to change the quality of light, and being more readily volatilized, keeps the arc from wandering. Plating of carbons with copper is sometimes resorted to for moulded forms for the purpose of increasing the conductivity, and, by protecting the carbon near the arc, prolonging the life.