True or Not?


 

Dave Mazz

TVWBB Fan

A co-worker told me today, that the very first Weber Kettle was made from a bouy. Does anyone know if this is true? The bouys I've seen are made out of a material other than steel. Inquiring minds want to know.
 

John Burns

TVWBB Member
100% True. George Stephen worked at Weber Bros. Metal Works in Chicago and made buoys that were used on Lake Michigan.

"It all started with a quest for a better steak. Back in the 1950s, brick fireplace barbecues were very popular, so a fellow by the name of George Stephen decided to build himself one. After he finished it, he invited his friends over for a barbecue. The steaks went up in flames. For George, the dinner was a disaster but it got him thinking — there had to be a better way.

Luckily, George’s day job was at Weber Brothers Metal Works where he spent his time welding half spheres together to make buoys. He knew his way around a metal shop and after the flop of the barbecue, it all clicked. He took one of the half spheres, put legs on it, punched holes in the bottom for air flow and put a lid on top. Voila, the iconic Weber kettle grill was born.
George’s first grill continued to evolve for years and Weber grew into the most trusted grilling name in the industry. All because of a few burnt steaks and one man who was willing to discover what’s possible."

And a recent message from George's son Jim (CEO of Weber for many years) who is one of 12 children of George Stephen - hence the 12 stars on the wheels of 70th Anniversary Edition Kettles:
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
One version of the story has it that George :george: was tinkering around in his backyard with his buoy grill. When he put the lid on his creation, the fire would go out. A neighbor watching over the fence supposedly said, "Hey George, you need to poke some holes in that thing so the fire can breathe!" Who knows for sure, but it makes for a fun story :giggle: .
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
One version of the story has it that George :george: was tinkering around in his backyard with his buoy grill. When he put the lid on his creation, the fire would go out. A neighbor watching over the fence supposedly said, "Hey George, you need to poke some holes in that thing so the fire can breathe!" Who knows for sure, but it makes for a fun story :giggle: .

No frontier is ever braved without a few bumps and turns. According to company folklore, George Stephen's original kettle grill, which became an icon of the American backyard, failed at first. It wouldn't stay lit! A neighbor peering over the fence offered George a little advice: "Poke some holes in that thing so the fire gets some oxygen!" Whoops.

From Weber’s Big Book of Grilling. Copyright © 2001 Weber-Stephen Products Co. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
 

David-B

TVWBB Super Fan
100% True. George Stephen worked at Weber Bros. Metal Works in Chicago and made buoys that were used on Lake Michigan.

"It all started with a quest for a better steak. Back in the 1950s, brick fireplace barbecues were very popular, so a fellow by the name of George Stephen decided to build himself one. After he finished it, he invited his friends over for a barbecue. The steaks went up in flames. For George, the dinner was a disaster but it got him thinking — there had to be a better way.

Luckily, George’s day job was at Weber Brothers Metal Works where he spent his time welding half spheres together to make buoys. He knew his way around a metal shop and after the flop of the barbecue, it all clicked. He took one of the half spheres, put legs on it, punched holes in the bottom for air flow and put a lid on top. Voila, the iconic Weber kettle grill was born.
George’s first grill continued to evolve for years and Weber grew into the most trusted grilling name in the industry. All because of a few burnt steaks and one man who was willing to discover what’s possible."

And a recent message from George's son Jim (CEO of Weber for many years) who is one of 12 children of George Stephen - hence the 12 stars on the wheels of 70th Anniversary Edition Kettles:
My grandparents had a brick bbq including a smokestack, she sold it and it took 4 people and a tractor to move it onto a trailer , she replaced it with a green weber in the 70s. Lots of large family reunions around the ol brick bbq
 

Brad Olson

TVWBB Diamond Member
Because I'm curious about old restaurants, I did a little sleuthing and have concluded that the photo of the Webers in the back of the Ford Ranchero was taken outside of the former Perry's Pizza in Park Ridge, IL. It looks like the Ranchero is a 1973-76 model and when combined with the presence of the gas kettles and the woman's hairstyle, I'm guessing the photo dates back to the middle of the decade.
 

TimA

TVWBB Pro
And George didn’t just work there, his father was part owner in Weber Bros at the time. About ‘58 I believe it was, George bought out his dads partners part of the business but I’m not sure if he bought his dad out also.
 

 

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