The Helko enterprise was started by a member of the Helsper family in 1844 in Cronenberg, now a district of Wuppertal. For many years, it was referred to as the Helsper Werkzeugfabrik, or Helsper Tool Factory. The Helsper Werkzeugfabrik quickly earned a reputation throughout Europe as a manufacturer of high quality woodworking tools, and by the early 20th Century had already begun exporting axes to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In the early thirties, a partner named Kotthaus joined the enterprise, and the company became known as Helko (helsper / kotthaus). When Helko took over the Carl Helsper Werkzeugfabrik in the early sixties, the complete company name in the German Register of Commerce became Carl & Aug. Helsper GmbH & Co., KG, Helko–Werk.
In the decades since, the company has continued to improve the quality of its products, and Helko axes are now recognized worldwide as some of the finest woodworking tools available.