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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, Sr., set out to build a better grill with a lid that allows outdoor cooks to grill in all kinds of weather. Stephen worked at (and was part owner of) the Weber Brothers Metal Works, a Chicago custom order sheet metal shop that produced, among other products, half-spheres that were welded together to make buoys for use in Lake Michigan. There, he split open one of the buoys and fashioned a dome shaped grill with a rounded lid, and the classic original Weber kettle grill was born. George's neighbors called it ‘Sputnik‘. Suddenly George’s invention, which was first called 'George's Barbecue Kettle', was in such hot demand he couldn’t make them fast enough.
Because the grill became so successful after he began selling it in 1952, Stephen formed the barbecue division of the Weber Brothers factory. 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. Soon thereafter, Stephen changed the company’s name to Weber-Stephen Products Co.