A lot of people use this stuff for their holiday cookouts.
“Henry Ford, always looking to turn a quick buck, noticed a large amount of his money being wasted on wood used in the manufacturing process of his model A cars. Looking for someway to use this wood profitably, he hit upon the idea of making charcoal briquettes. The process of making them was easy and cheap and he could sell them to steel mills and anyone else interested in using them. Very quickly people started using them for heat and cooking, and hence the modern charcoal grill was invented. Well, not really that simple, but Ford certainly helped make outdoor charcoal cooking simpler and easier. (Ford passed off the business to a relative named Kingsford).” (from About.com)