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Weber Grill Review
Charcoal Grilling Innovations Patented by Weber

Weber One Touch
US Patent 4,416,248
Ash disposal damper for barbecue kettle, Nov 22, 1983; Erich J Schlosser
This patent is the introduction of the Weber One Touch system.  Previous Weber designs used three air intakes
with each intake having four holes.  The amount of air allowed to pass through the holes was controlled by
dampers.  This patent eliminates the 12 intake holes and replaces them with three elongated slits with a single
damper attached to a long handle.  The damper assembly consisted of three metal bars shaped like inverted Vs
that were located inside the kettle.  This driver for this change was cost and performance.

As related to cost, the prior art required three separate riveting operations to attach the dampers.  The three
operations each added manufacturing cost and were opportunities for the porcelain to become chipped which
would require rework of the kettle.  As related to function it was realized that the previous dampers just got too
hot to handle while the grill was in use.  By having the damper attached to an elongated handle it became much
more operator friendly.  An added benefit of this assembly was that the dampers could now be used to push ash
out of the bottom of the kettle.

US Patent 4,453,530 Outdoor cooking device, June 12, 1984; Erich J Schlosser
This patent introduces alternate means of holding the lid on charcoal grills.  The lid holding device utilized at the
time, and that still is in use on some grills today, is a C hook on the inside of the lid.  The C hook is used to hang
the lid on the edge of the kettle.  This patent claims the addition of a pair of T brackets on the side of the grill.  
The lid can be slid into the T brackets and held perpendicular to the grill.  A claimed benefit of this innovation is
that the majority of the lid will now be stored above and perpendicular to the grilling surface.  As such the lid can
serve as a shield during windy conditions, etc.

US Patent 4,498,452 Kettle with ash catcher, Feb 12, 1985; Erich J Schlosser, George Stephen
The patent was of short lived value as it crossed product lines and was quickly replaced with a better design.  
The patent basically covers the use of an ash catcher that has been stamped with grooves to fit into the tripod
support.  The key idea that they are really trying to work with is this is a grill that is very portable that could be
assembled without tools.  The fact that tools were not needed increased the portability of the grill as you could
now take it apart, move it to a campsite and reassemble without needing tools.  I have this patent grouped with
other One Touch patents but an equal argument says that this might belong with Smokey Joes.

US Patent 4,576,140 Ash catcher for charcoal grill, March 18, 1986; Erich J Schlosser
This is a minor patent that redesigned the ash catcher for kettle grills.  Previous ash catcher designs utilized an
aluminum pan with three L shaped groves stamped out.  The grooves in the pan were designed to lock around
the tripod grill support.  Stamping the L patterns increased manufacturing costs and wasted material.  This
patent introduces the concept of an ash catcher made of a solid aluminum disk held in place by three spring clips,
one attached to each support leg.  This is the same design currently used for One Touch Silver grills.

US Patent 4,777,927 Barbecue kettle, Oct. 18, 1988; James Stephen, Erich Schlosser, Andrzej Leja
This patent reflects adding some bling to the One Touch grills.  Improvements to the grill include a better lid
holder, a detachable thermometer to measure the temperature of the grill or the food being cooked and the
addition of charcoal baskets to make indirect cooking easier.  Weber received a continuation of this patent on
10/30/90 as US patent 4,966,125.

Weber Smokey Joe Gold
US Patent 4,535,749
Portable barbeque grill, Aug 20, 1985; Erich J Schlosser, James C Stephen
This is a fun patent that introduces the innovations leading to the production of the Smokey Joe Gold.  To quote
from the patent:
“…the need has arisen for a more portable type of unit that can easily be carried about for use on
camping trips and other short-term uses where it becomes necessary to assemble and disassemble the unit in a short
period of time, and also be capable of transporting the unit small distances while the coals are still burning.  In this
environment, the surroundings many times make it desirable to accumulate the ashes in the bowl until after the unit
has completely cooled to prevent fires when being used in wooded areas.”
The locking lid mechanism along with air
intakes on the sides of a hand portable grill are described and claimed in this patent.

US Patent 4,836,179 Portable barbecue grill with cover support, June 6, 1989; Erich Schlosser
This patent is a follow up to US 4,535,749 which introduced two innovations for the Smokey Joe Gold.  US
4,836,179 is the realization that the metal bar that serves as the lid locking mechanism can serve double duty as
a lid holder if a single piece of spring metal is added to the side of the kettle.  Between these two patents you
have the three innovations which differentiate the Smokey Joe Gold from the Silver, a locking lid, air intake on the
sides and a lid holder.

Weber Performer
The concept of the Weber Performer was introduced in three patent applications filed in August, 1990 which
resulted in the issuance of four separate patents.  Three of the patents cover distinct inventions utilized in the
grill while the fourth patent covers the application of all of the inventions into a single grill.  Even though the
applications were filed within the same month, the patents were issued over the course of several years.

US Patent 5,027,788 Barbecue kettle cart, July 2, 1991; Erich Schlosser, Michael Alden
This patent takes the kettle off of the tripod and into the cart.  The cart offered the advantages of a built in work
table that could slide away to reveal an integrated storage bin.  The cart structure provided a frame for a bottom
rack that could store more material.  

US Patent 5,036,832 Ash catcher assembly for barbecue grill, August 6, 1991; Erich Schlosser, Michael Alden
This patent introduced the cylindrical ash catcher that is now on both the Performer and the One Touch Gold
grills.  Ashes were now self-contained and would not get blown around like they did on the circular discs utilized
with the One Touch Silver grills.

US Patent 5,213,075 Igniter for charcoal grill, May 25, 1993;   James Stephen, Erich Schlosser, Andrzej Leja,
Donald Pestka
This patent utilizes propane gas to ignite the charcoal in the kettle.  There is nothing remarkable about the
burner tube, igniter assembly, etc. as it appears to be a straight forward adaptation of the burners used for the
Genesis grills.  What is somewhat interesting is that all of the drawings in the patent illustrate the invention with
a kettle on a tripod.  The text of the patent clearly mentions that this invention can be utilized with the cart
described in US 5,027,788.  I just wonder why the drawings do not reflect this embodiment.

US Patent 5,076,252 Barbecue grill assembly, Dec 31, 1991; Erich Schlosser, Michael Alden
This patent took the inventions of the cart, ash catcher and gas ignition and assembled them into a single grill.