Richard Helmstetter made his first cue when he was still in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was taking night classes in woodworking, not knowing that this was to be his future career, and during one of these classes decided to make a pool cue. Less than a year later, Helmstetter was traveling to Milwaukee every weekend to work with cuemaker Rollie Welch. It was with Welch that he honed his cuemaking skills, making cues for him in return for the use of his lathe. Helmstetter would use Brunswick one piece cues as his blanks then cut then in half and put in a joint. Then Helmstetter met Gordon Hart, the future founder of Viking Cues (the biggest cue manufacturer in the world). Helmstetter set up a partnership with Hart, and in 1965 sold out of cues at a Johnson City tournament.
It was at this point, while he was still earning a degree from UW, that the name Helmstetter began circulating in the billiards community. After graduating, Helmstetter bounced around a bit, starting his own company Helmstetter Cues in Washington D.C. and working for the National Tournament Chalk Company helping them set up a factory. Then in 1968, he met David Forman who recruited Helmstetter to move to Japan and help him improve his cue factory. And in 1970, the two men started Adam Custom Cues, named after Forman's first grandson. Helmstetter revolutionized Forman's factory, buying new state of the art equipment, custom kilns to dry the wood, and making each of the twelve 1970 models by hand. Now, less than forty years later, Adam, with Helmstetter's guidance, sells thousands of cues a year all over the world and is on its sixth generation of state of the art cue equipment. But despite the increase in scale, many of the prototypes for new cues and new lines are lovingly handcrafted by master cuemakers still dedicated to creating only the highest quality cues.
Helmstetter began specializing in wood screw cues in the 1970's which are now collector's items. These cues became the go to cue for professional three-cushion players. Throughout the 70's and 80's, Helmstetter helped create many different cue lines, including snooker cues, carom cues, eight and nine ball cues, and various other limited edition and specialty cues. Helmstetter retired from cue making in 1986, when he moved back to the U.S. and began creating innovative new golf clubs, including the famous "Big Bertha" driver, for Callaway Golf.
As a tribute to his innovation and master craftsmanship, Adam has a line of cues named after him that use all of Helmstetter's pioneered cue making techniques and tricks and are manufactured in the same factory that he helped create in the 1970's. These cues are all designs in the same style as the ones Helmstetter personally made and combine high performance and style for a winning combination. Many pros refuse to shoot with anything other than a Helmstetter because no other cue can guarantee peak performance with every shot or boast nearly as long of a lifetime.