New carbon black plant opens in Panhandle
On this day in 1926, the Texas Railroad Commission allowed the Phillips Petroleum Company to construct a carbon black plant in the Panhandle. The facility was originally operated by the Western Carbon Company and later owned by the Columbian Carbon firm. Carbon black, produced from natural gas that has more than 1 ½ grains of hydrogen sulfide, became in demand in the early twentieth century, especially in the production of automobile tires. The first carbon black plant in Texas opened in 1923 in Stephens County. By the early 1930s, thirty-one plants in Texas produced 75 percent of the nation’s output. Most facilities were located in the Panhandle, and Texas became the largest producer of carbon black in the country.