When George Stephen, founder of Weber-Stephen Products Co,designed his kettle-shaped barbeque grill in 1951, he sparked a backyard revolution. Tired of complaining about flat, open grills that exposed his food to wind, ashes and charring fire-ups, he decided to put a lid on it — literally.
It all started at the metalworks, where he worked, his idea began to take shape as he chopped a metal buoy in half, added air vents and legs and the original kettle barbecue was born. He realised it looked more than a bit weird, but he proudly took it home to try it out.
His neighbours only stopped laughing at the spaceship, as they called it, when they tasted the steak that George cooked for them on it. He knew that cooking on a rounded bowl with the lid down was the key and he was quickly proved right. Now everybody wanted one. George decided to set up on his own and by the end of the 1950s he was able to buy out Weber Brothers Metalworks. He then changed its name to Weber-Stephen Products. George’s lidded barbecues were proving to be such a hit throughout the 1960s and 1970s that American TV picked up on his story.