Most of the time when you're grilling, you don't think about the history behind it – just how delicious the food is going to taste when you're done. I explored the history of Kingsford charcoal and was surprised to find a rich history, interestingly tied to Ford Motors.
In the 1920s, Henry Ford learned about a process for turning wood scraps from the production of Model Ts (yes, the car) into charcoal briquets – who would have ever associated Model Ts with grilling? He built a charcoal plant and invented Kingsford charcoal. Since its development, Kingsford charcoal has been made with the same high quality, using real wood to make charcoal briquets and producing the real taste and smell of charcoal grilling.
The Kingsford Company was formed when E.G. Kingsford, a relative of Ford's, brokered the site selection for Ford's new charcoal manufacturing plant. The company, originally called Ford Charcoal, was renamed in E.G.’s honor.
Today The Kingsford Products Company remains the leading manufacturer of charcoal in the U.S., with 80 percent market share. More than 1 million tons of wood scraps are converted into quality charcoal briquets every year. Kingsford also embraces the “green movement” by manufacturing charcoal products in an an environmentally-conscious way – whether it’s converting wood waste into useful fuels, reusing combustion gases to generate heat for use in production water or containing process water to be reused for the next batch of charcoal.
So next time you grill with Kingsford charcoal, you can appreciate the history behind it AND the delicious meal it helped you create.
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Can the ashes be added to yard, garden soil or composted?
What do you recommend?
Awesome post! Kingsford,MI is where I was born,after the plant moved. More info on the city origins.
Well to give more detailed to this story my Great grandfather Will M Sadler made the wooden spokes for Henry Ford’s model T and that’s also where Ford learned how to make the charcoal. It was my Grandfather’s recipe so I would like to give credit where credit is due
Thanks for the backstory Judy! Great info!
Where I grew up it was quite an industry; everyone cut wood and sold it to the charcoal mill. Dozens of kilns were operated; the wood was partially burned and the in-process lumber was loaded on semi-trailers to go to the briquet plant. After I got out of the Army I cut cordwood for a short while before I went to college. I think they were moving toward using slabs instead, and I’m sure the don’t buy wood for charcoal any more.
great info Michael!