The first Zildjian Cymbals were created in 1618 in Istanbul, Turkey by an Armenian by the name of Avedis.
While looking for a way to turn metal into gold, he created an alloy combining silver, tin, and copper into a sheet of metal that could make musical sounds without breaking.
Avedis began the cymbal industry in 1623, and as his reputation grew, he was given the name, “Zildjian,” which is an Armenian word meaning “son of a cymbal maker.”
He made many innovations in cymbals that are still around today, and was the first to develop cymbals for the drum set. Plus, he gave cymbals names, such as “crash,” “ride,” “hi-hat,” and “splash.”
The company has been handed down to the family through generations, and in 1908, Avedis Zildjian III migrated to Boston. But, Kerope Zilcan continued to manufacture cymbals in Turkey under the K. Zildjian Constantinople name.
In 1923, the name of the city, Constantinople, was officially changed to Istanbul, as the Turkish Republic was established. As the new republic was established, so changed the company’s name from K. Zildjian Constantinople to K. Zildjian Istanbul.
Around 1926-1928, Aram Zildjian and Avedis III signed an exclusive American distribution agreement for K. Zildjian Cymbals with the Gretsch Drum Company and began manufacturing cymbals in Quincy, assachusetts. In 1929, the Avedis Zildjian Company was formed.
In 1968, the K. Zildjian Company and all European trademarks were brought to the US by Robert Zildjian on behalf of the Avedis Zildjian
Company. Robert and Avedis then opened up the Azco factory in Meductic, New Brunswick, Canada where they manufactured Zilco cymbals.
In 1975, problems arose within the Turkish government and Robert brought over a Turkish crew to begin manufacturing K Zildjian Cymbals in the Azco factory. This was the first time that Kerope and Avedis Zildjian had worked together to make the same Zildjian Cymbals after years of competing with each other as A. Zildjian and K. Zildjian Istanbul.
In 1979, Avedis died and Robert split from Zildjian due to a conflict with his brother, Armand. As Armand headed up the Zildjian Company, Robert began his own line of cymbals known as Sabian in the Canadian Azco plant in 1981.
Armand Zildjian died in 2002 leaving the Avedis Zildjian Company in the hands of his two daughters, Craigie Zildjian and Debbie Zildjian.
Nearly 400 years old, the Avedis Zildjian Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of cymbals and other products such as drumsticks and other drum accessories, and has been officially recognized as the oldest continually family-owned business in America.
The Official Zildjian Website
Most Popular Drum Gear on zZounds (why zZounds?)
Most Popular Drum Equipment on zZounds
Most Popular Cymbals on zZounds