Weber Grills at Simon's Furniture
The Backyard Revolution That Evolutionized the American Barbecue
In 1952, after he became frustrated with the uneven and uncontrollable flame of open brazier grilling at his Mount Prospect, Illinois home, determined backyard griller George Stephen set out to build a better grill that would protect his precious steaks from the wind and possible downpours—while sealing in a tasty smoked flavor. At the Weber Brothers Metal Works where he was employed, Stephen ingeniously cut a metal buoy in half and fashioned a dome shaped grill with a rounded lid—and the classic original Weber® kettle grill was born. His invention quickly gained a loyal audience and ultimately became a prominent symbol of Americana.
“George’s post-World War II invention was the beginning of the ‘American Backyard Barbecue’ as we know it today,” said Donna Myers, nationally known grill industry expert. “The Weber kettle grill is as much an American icon as apple pie.”
Today, when more than 85 million American households own an outdoor grill, consumers are used to seeing charcoal and gas grills in hundreds of sizes, shapes, colors, and prices. But back in 1952, when Stephen started selling his kettle, it was a big business gamble.
“It didn’t look like any other grill that had ever been made,” said Mike Kempster, Executive Vice President for Weber-Stephen Products LLC. “At first, George’s friends kidded him about his strange looking contraption. But after they tasted how well it cooked, they stopped laughing at it and started buying it.”
And although Stephen’s kettle was significantly more money—the average open brazier in the early 1950s was $7 and his kettle sold for almost $50—the grill earned enough local success to rename Weber Brothers Metal Works to Weber-Stephen Products Co.
In the late 1950s, Stephen bought out the Weber Brothers factory and became the sole owner, devoting all his professional time to manufacturing and selling the Weber kettle.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Weber’s reputation grew beyond the Midwest, as it became a nationally known brand with distribution in retail stores throughout the U.S.—introducing covered grilling to the rest of the country.
In 1985, Weber-Stephen Products Co. introduced a revolutionary line of gas grills—known as the Genesis®. This line of gas grills transformed the market, offering consumers precise heat control and virtually flare-up free cooking. With its patented cooking system, it was possible to cook anything you could do in your oven on your grill.
In 2002, as outdoor grilling started to grow even more in popularity and as consumers began to grill a wider variety of foods, Weber-Stephen Products Co. introduced its luxury Weber® Summit line. Weber Summit grills led the industry again with impeccable construction and high-end features that enabled outdoor chefs to grill gourmet foods beyond the normal burgers, brats, and ribs.
In 2003, the new Weber® Q™ made waves through the industry by rethinking how a portable gas grill should look and cook. The original Weber Q’s unconventional futuristic design—coupled with its true open flame grilling vs. the then-typical “griddle” cooking of other portable gas grills—became so popular that now there are eight different Weber Q models.
In 2007, the company unveiled the largest and most ambitious new product launch in its 54-year history by offering 14 new gas grills. While the superior Weber cooking system remained intact, the company introduced new aesthetic designs that were completely re-imagined from the wheels up with all stainless-steel looks, stunning curves, sleek lines, and some grills in bright colors. The Weber brand showcased entirely new models—four in its Summit and eight in its Genesis lines—and introduced a new line, the Spirit®, with two new grills. All are available in LP and natural gas models.
Today, 18 years after Stephen passed away in 1993, Weber has become one of America’s most recognized and trusted brands. Headquartered in Palatine, Ill., Weber-Stephen Products LLC is the world’s leading manufacturer of barbecue grills, smokers, grilling accessories, and other outdoor room products.