Ginkgo International, Ltd., and the W.S. Helmick Stainless Collections, were founded in 1977 by Wes and Janet Helmick. Ginkgo’s purpose is to bring original designs to the market at the best value. We have worked with designers and stainless flatware contractors from the United States, Europe, and Asia to accomplish these goals. We believe the patterns illustrated here are the highest quality and value that over 25 years of endeavor can produce.

We are proud of our designers patterns, from the original "Le Prix"® pattern developed in a small ancient French Alps town of Thier, France to our latest patterns, Old Newbury Crafters 18/10 stainless. These patterns are reproductions of handwrought sterling from Old Newbury Crafters in Amesbury, Massachusetts, which have antecedents dating back to the 1600's, and were incorporated in 1915. We are please to be associated with Old Newbury Crafters.
A Little History: Flatware as we know it today consists of knives, forks and spoons. Before the 18th century this was not the case. The term flatware only referred to fork and spoons, which at the time were made by a spoonmaker. Knives were made separately by a cutler, hence cutlery. Only knives and spoons date back to the beginning of civilization.

Knives: Knives have been used as weapons, tools, and eating utensils since prehistoric times. However, it is only in fairly recent times that knives have been designed specifically for table use. Because hosts did not provide cutlery for their guests during the Middle Ages in Europe, most people carried their own knives in sheaths attached to their belts. These knives were narrow and their sharply pointed ends were used to spear food and then raise it to one's mouth. Through constant evolution, we now have modern day knives for table use, as we know them today.

Forks: Kitchen forks trace their origins back to the time of the Greeks. These forks were fairly large with two tines that aided in the carving and serving of meat. Early table forks were modeled after kitchen forks; two fairly long and widely spaced tines ensured that meat would not twist while being cut. This style of fork was soundly designed, but small pieces of food regularly fell through the tines or slipped off easily. In late 17th Century France, larger forks with four curved tines were developed. The additional tines made diners less likely to drop food, and the curved tines served as a scoop so people did not have to constantly switch to a spoon while eating. By the early 19th Century, four-tined forks had also been developed in Germany and England and slowly began to spread to America.

Spoon: Spoons have been used as eating utensils since Paleolithic times. It is most likely that prehistoric peoples used shells or chips of wood as spoons. In fact, both the Greek and Latin words for spoon are derived from cochlea, meaning a spiral-shaped snail shell. This suggests that shells were commonly used as spoons in Southern Europe. Additionally, the Anglo-Saxon word spon, meaning a chip or splinter of wood, points toward widespread use of this material for Northern European spoons.