BBQ Islands History of Briquettes: Henry Ford Owned More Than Cars

by GuestPoster on July 14, 2010

If you want to sound like a real BBQ aficionado at your next outdoor party, then you need a little historical information to impress your friends and family. A great place to start is with the interesting origins of charcoal briquettes. Whether people own BBQ Islands, stand-alone grills, or any type of gas or charcoal grill, many of them use charcoal briquettes. But I’d bet that many people do not know where they came from or who invented them.

Thanks to these inventors of charcoal briquettes, grillers everywhere can get a delicious, mesquite taste out of the food that they grill on BBQ Islands and built in BBQ grills. And today their inventions have been expanded upon and developed in many ways.

The first known patent on charcoal briquettes was held by Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer of Pennsylvania in 1897. His company was heavily invested in the product and produced a great quantity of the briquettes. He began developing them after WWI and if he were alive today, he’d be happy to know that over 100 years later newer versions of his product are still in existence.

While Zwoyer was the first person known to have a patent on the product, Henry Ford was actually the first person to popularize charcoal briquettes. With a little help from Thomas Edison, Ford developed charcoal briquettes using sawdust and wood debris from his automobile factories. Whether it was just good timing, or perhaps the combination of materials used in his briquettes, they became greatly popular in the 1920s. And for a long time charcoal briquettes were only available through his company.

Then E.G. Kingsford came along. He was Ford’s brother-in-law. Kingsford bought Ford’s briquettes and started mass marketing and commercializing them through his own company. Soon enough, Ford decided to leave the briquette business in his brother-in-law’s hands and focus on the auto industry. Today, Kingsford still has popular brands of charcoal briquettes that are used in built in BBQ grills and BBQ Islands everywhere.

Currently there are many different companies that produce charcoal briquettes, and there are many varieties of charcoal briquettes available that can be used in all types of BBQ Islands and grills. There are variations on wood charcoal briquettes, as well as new products like peat and mineral carbon briquettes.

Also, many of today’s homeowners love being able to warm up their BBQ Islands and built in BBQ grills without harming the environment. For these individuals there are biomass briquettes. They are environmentally friendly and do not produce fossil carbon. These briquettes are composed of recycled agricultural waste material.

Briquettes have come a long way since the end of the 1800s, but one thing remains the same: they still produce great tasting BBQ.

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