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ADAM CUSTOM CUES Pool Cues

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ADAM CUSTOM CUES
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ADAM CUSTOM CUES
Maker of pool cues from 1970 to present in Japan. Distributed in the United States by Competition Sports of Farmingdale, New York.
In 1960 Richard Helmstetter made his first cue in a night school woodworking class. Shortly afterwards, Richard heard about a cuemaker named Rollie Welch, and soon he was on a bus to North Milwaukee. On Friday nights after his classes were over, Richard made shafts for Rollie in exchange for the use of Rollie´s lathe. Later in the weekend Richard could work on his own cues; he bought Brunswick one-piece cues, cut them in half, and put in a joint. It was at this time that Richard met Gordon Hart, who wanted to set up a cue shop in the basement of his new pool room in Stoughton, Wisconsin. A deal was struck: if Richard helped Gordon set up the shop, Richard would have a "permanent" part-time job there while he finished his degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 1965, Richard took an armload of cues to the annual Johnson City tournament and sold every one of them. It was in Johnson City that he heard about a fellow in Chicago building quality blanks. Soon Gordon and Richard were buying blanks from this man, Burton Spain, to use in their cues. After graduating from college in 1966, Richard moved to Washington, D.C. to start Helmstetter Cues. (Gordon Hart went on to establish Viking Cues.) His namesake company established Richard´s reputation as an accomplished craftsman. A year later Richard was offered the opportunity to set up a cuemaking facility for the National Tournament Chalk Company in Chicago. With the combined talents of Richard and other soon-to-be-important cuemakers, National was making high quality cues.
In 1968, Richard met Dave Forman, who was importing two lines of cues which he manufactured in Japan. Dave enlisted Richard to improve and expand his Japanese cuemaking facility. In October of 1969, Richard moved to Japan to begin this project. Richard bought new machinery for the facility and had kilns custom made for drying wood. Two years later, Adam Custom Cues was born, named after Dave Forman´s first grandson. The twelve models available in 1970 were entirely handmade. By 1973, 60 models were available. Now that Adam-Japan produces thousands of cues a year, the cues are built using state-of-the-art machinery. Adam is now using sixth generation equipment. Some early prototype cues are still handmade.
Richard started producing wood-screw billiard cues during the 1970s, which soon became popular with the world´s leading three-cushion billiards players. From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, the Carl Conlon and CCS ("Carl Conlon Special") and Adam/CCS carom cues were sold in Europe. In 1976, Adam Custom Cues successfully introduced the John Spencer and Harry Harbottle ("HH") lines of snooker cues. Other lines manufactured by Adam over the past 30 years include Julio Stamboulini, Raymond Calvert, Bob Weir, Buffalo, By Helmstetter, Lisciotti, and the Superstar Signature Series-all of which are easily identifiable by visible logos and/or signatures, and are discontinued. "Bob Weir" cues were a private label Adam production cue made for a Texan by that name whose only brush with cuemaking was designing the "flying W" logo embossed on the cues. According to Richard, they were made for three to four years in the 1980s; fewer than 1000 cues were imported from Japan to Texas. Currently Adam-Japan manufactures three lines of cues: Adam, Helmstetter, and the George Balabushka series. The Balabushka cues are made by Adam under license from the Balabushka family in designs similar to what George himself might have made before he passed on in 1975. If your cue has "George Balabushka" on the forearm, it was made by Adam-Japan. These cues are now distributed by Competition Sports Corp.
Despite his status as a seminal figure in cuemaking, Richard Helmstetter is best known for his contributions to the golf world. He returned to live in the United States in 1986, when he joined Callaway Golf, where he is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief of New Products. Richard is the creator of the famed "Big Bertha" driver and Fairway Woods. He still continues to do cue design work for Adam-Japan. Richard´s world travels and product development contacts at Callaway have proven helpful to Adam, from sourcing woods to discovering new high-tech materials and machinery.
Collectors are becoming interested in many of the early Adam and Helmstetter cues, particularly those with wood screws. If you have an Adam cue that needs further identification or repair, contact Competition Sports, listed in the Trademark Index.
For more information, please refer to listings for Julio Stambolini Cues, and Bob Weir Cues.


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