The Avedis Zildjian [zil-jin] Company is a cymbal manufacturer founded in Istanbul by Armenian Avedis Zildjian in the 17th century during the Ottoman Empire. At nearly 400 years old, Zildjian is one of the oldest companies in the world. The first Zildjian cymbals were created in 1623 by Avedis, an alchemist who was looking for a way to turn base metal into gold; he created an alloy combining tin, copper, and silver into a sheet of metal that could make musical sounds without shattering.

Avedis was given the name of Zildjian by the Sultan Osman II (from the Turkish word ‘zil’ – ‘cymbal,’ ‘dji’ – ‘maker-seller,’ ‘ian’ – a common suffix used in Armenian last names which means ‘son of’). The details of the company’s main product remained secret for generations. It became family tradition that only the company’s heirs would know the manufacturing process. The Zildjian Company moved from manufacturing noisemakers to frighten the enemies of the Ottoman Empire to manufacturing its cymbals as musical instruments in the 19th century.

Around 1928, Avedis III, his brother Puzant, and Aram Zildjian began manufacturing cymbals in Quincy, Massachusetts, and the Avedis Zildjian Co. was formed in 1929, the year the Great Depression began, in competition with the K. Zildjian company in Turkey. Avedis III made many innovations in cymbals that are still around today; he was the first to develop drum-set cymbals and gave cymbals names such as ride, crash, splash, and hi-hat.

Jazz drummers such as Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Shelly Manne, Cozy Cole, and Papa Jo Jones all used Avedis Zildjian cymbals Avedis III’s son Armand Zildjian, also known as the ‘Father of Artist Relations,’ also began hand-selecting cymbals for all the top drummers. It was his close personal relationships with the top drummers and percussionists of the day on which Zildjian still bases its Artist Relations Department. In 1968, the K. Zildjian Co. and all European trademarks were bought back on behalf of the Avedis Zildjian Co.


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