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Carbon Fiber: Secret Ingredient of the 21st Century


Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

This turntable's entry-level exterior—and price—masks a bit of audiophile-grade kit. The Debut's tonearm eschews traditional aluminum in favor of carbon fiber, which helps it deliver whisper-quiet playback. $399

Carbon Fiber Started With Edison

Thomas Edison stumbled upon a carbon-fiber precursor while experimenting with lightbulb filaments in 1879. He superheated splinters of bamboo and produced strands of carbon that could withstand high temperatures and conduct electricity. Physicist Roger Bacon expanded on this process in 1958, creating “whiskers” roughly 10 times the tensile strength and more than three times the stiffness of steel.


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