Carbon fiber has been around since 1860. Sir Joseph Wilson Swan first created carbon fiber in 1860 to use in early incandescent light bulbs. In 1879, Thomas Edison created it when he baked cotton thread. This process carbonized them to create an all-carbon-fiber filament. Unfortunately, Edison didn't continue his experimentation and carbon fiber became an afterthought for awhile.
It would take more than 50 years for carbon fiber to make it back onto the radar of manufacturers. In 1958, a researcher at a technical center in Cleveland, Ohio accidentally created a new form of carbon fiber. From there,carbon fiber began being used by various scientists and researchers who worked to create more cost-effective methods of producing the material.
The version of carbon fiber used today is largely derived from methods invented in the late 1970s. That's when carbon fiber became stronger and more lightweight, as well as less expensive to produce. Carbon fiber's natural color is black and while black carbon fiber is the most popular, there are many variants, including blue carbon fiber and green carbon fiber among others.