Avedis Zildjian I
Armenian alchemist Avedis I lived in Constantinople in the early 1600s. He combined base metals in an attempt to make gold and realized that an alloy comprised of copper, tin, and bits of silver had a special sound quality. In 1618, Zildjian developed his first cymbals with a superior sound. The Sultan invited Avedis to live at Topkapi Palace and make cymbals for his bands. The name “Zildjian,” meaning “cymbal smith” in Armenian, was given to Avedis by the Sultan himself. Avedis was granted the right to leave the palace in 1623 to start his own business.
Avedis Zildjian II
Zildjian cymbals were known simply as “Turkish Cymbals” until 1851 when Avedis Zildjian II first produced cymbals marked with the company name. In that same year, he traveled to the World Trade Fair where he displayed the family cymbals.
Avedis II passed the company on to his brother, Kerope, in 1865. Kerope ran the company for 44 years before it was passed down to his nephew, Aram. In 1927, Aram wrote to his nephew, Avedis III, and said it was his turn to take care of the business.
At the time, Avedis III was the only remaining male in the direct line of succession. He was also an American, and owned a rather successful candy store.
Two years later, the company was incorporated in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Gene Krupa asked Zildjian to develop a thinner cymbal. He did, and it became quite popular. Many cymbals found today were both invented and named by Avedis Zildjian, including splash, ride, crash, hi-hat, and sizzle.
In 1939, a fire in Zildjian’s neighboring building took a toll on the company. However, Avedis was determined to get the business back up and running and within four to five days, he did.
During WWII, Zildjian made cymbals for the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The business continued to grow through the swing era and production was constantly increased to meet the needs of consumers.
Find out more by visiting Zildjian’s website.