Empire Comfort Systems grew out of a small sheet metal shop founded by Henry Bauer in 1911 in the city of Belleville, Illinois. Formally incorporated on August 26, 1932, Empire Stove Company produced sheet metal heaters that took advantage of the increasing availability of natural gas. Empire still makes replacement parts for grills manufactured more than 30 years ago. Created new grills to expand the appeal of the Broilmaster brand – including infrared models and slow cookers. In 2013, introduced the Independence, a charcoal grill backed by Broilmaster’s legendary durability.