How a humble buoy took over the world


Metal Buoy

Spark of Inspiration

Back in 1952, a love of good barbecue lit a fire under George Stephen. An employee of Weber Brothers Metal Works just outside of Chicago, George welded metal buoys for a local yacht club. But that’s not all he did: George loved to barbecue. With a growing family at home, he found barbecuing the perfect way to relax, but couldn’t find a barbecue on the market that lived up to his high expectations. The most popular barbecue of the day was a flat open brazier— a product George found woefully under-engineered. He knew there had to be a better way.

Born from a Buoy

One day, George was about to weld two buoy halves together when the idea hit: Why not use the bottom half for the cooking bowl, and the top half for the lid to create a barbecue? Piece by piece, his vision started coming together. He then added a handle and three legs and took his crazy-looking contraption home to test.

First Weber Kettle

Poke Some Holes

As the story goes, when George first tried out his prototype, it didn’t work quite as hoped. No matter how hard he tried, it just wouldn’t stay alight. A neighbour peering over the back fence offered some friendly advice, “Poke some holes in that thing so the fire can get some air!” So, George did, and the flames of invention finally kept burning.

Have Kettle, Will Travel

Shortly after, all of George’s neighbours gathered around to enjoy a taste of the best steak they had ever experienced. George figured he was really on to something, so he packed up “George’s Barbecue Kettle” and hit the road, demonstrating his funny looking creation at mum-and-dad hardware stores across America. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Next Big Thing

More than 30 years later, Weber introduced the ground-breaking Genesis® gas barbecue with a revolutionary new cooking system that would set the standard for all that followed. Unlike other gas barbecues of the time that used messy and flare-up-prone lava rocks, the Genesis® used an ingenious system of metal bars angled to the perfect pitch to distribute heat and channel drippings away from the food. That meant fewer flare-ups and easier clean-up. Pure perfection.

Weber Genesis 1983

Nothing would have made George happier than to see barbecuing rise to an art form. With clever features and the ultimate grilling system, the newest products take barbecuing to a whole new level.