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Edward Hellmich Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 13 Nov 2019

Biographical History

Edward J. Hellmich (1910-2000) was an American businessman. With his wife Mildred (Mimi), he founded and operated Hellmich Mfg. Co. and The Branchell Co., based in St. Louis, Missouri. Hellmich and Branchell, respectively, manufactured and sold melamine plastic dinnerware under the trade name Melmac. There was also a factory in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The Hellmichs sold the company to Lenox, the well-known china company, in 1958. Kaye LaMoyne was one of the firm's primary designers, responsible for the Ebonyte and Color-Flyte lines.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Edward Hellmich Papers consists of artifacts, company histories, correspondence, legal papers, memorabilia, and photographs, most of which pertain to Hellmich Mfg. Co. and The Branchell Co., companies founded by Hellmich for the manufacture and sale of melamine plastic dinnerware.

Artifacts contains specimens of Melmac dinnerware (plates, cupes, bowls, serving platters, etc.) including examples of Branchell's Ebonyte and Color-Flyte lines. Many of the items have no company or brand markings whatsoever, suggesting they are prototype models. Also included here are specimens of flatware with melamine handles in various colors, as well as examples of small flower-shaped candle holders, as for use on birthday cakes.

Company histories contains histories of Hellmich Mfg. Co., The Branchell Co., and Melmac, written by members of the Hellmich family. There is also a published book on Melmac dinnerware.

Correspondence includes Hellmich Mfg. Co. individuals such as Kaye LaMoyne, Karl Gottschalk, and Ernest Hellmich, as well as with attorneys and Lenox, Inc. regarding the sale of the company to Lenox.

Legal papers includes articles of incorporation, contracts, notes, and similar items.

Memorabilia includes both company material, such as clippings, letterhead, and product tags; and personal material, such as an invitation to the Hellmichs' 50th wedding anniversary and a tribute to Mimi by Edward.

Photographs include a formal portrait of Edward Hellmich, staged photographs of Melmac dinnerware settings, and the Hellmich factory in Puerto Rico.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetically by title or topic.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has a number of collections related to plastics. Please search our collections to locate other relevant collections and cataloged material.

Subject Headings


Hellmich, Edward J.
Hellmich, Ernest E.
LaMoyne, Kaye.

Corporate Bodies

Hellmich Manufacturing Corp.
The Branchell Co.

Associated Titles

Zimmer, Gregory R., 1947 -- Melmac dinnerware.


Flatware -- Specimens.
Plastic tableware -- Specimens.
Plastic tableware.
Plastics -- History.
Plastics -- Marketing.
Plastics industry and trade.


Puerto Rico.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Legal documents.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Edward Hellmich Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Christina Hellmich, 2019.

Table of Contents


Company histories


Legal papers