The earliest commercial use of carbon fibers is often attributed to Thomas Edison's carbonization of cotton and bamboo fibers for incandescent lamp filaments. This article describes the manufacture of PAN-based carbon fibers and pitch-based carbon fibers. It discusses the properties and characteristics of carbon fibers in terms of axial structure, transverse structure, and interfacial bonding. The article discusses the typical applications of carbon fibers, including aerospace and sporting goods. It concludes with a discussion on anticipated developments in carbon fibers.