Igniter

In arc lamps with fixed parallel carbons of the Jablochkoff type (see Jablochkoff Candle) a strip of carbon connects the ends of the carbons in the unused candle. This is necessary to start the current. Such strip is called an igniter. It burns away in a very short time when an arc forms producing the light, and lasts, if all goes well, until the candle burns down to its end. Without the igniter the current would not start and no arc would form.