I became fascinated with the story of the oldest Chinese cymbals in vintage collections in the United States, and the Chinese Cymbal Timeline is the result.Click here to see a timeline of early Chinese cymbals imported to the US.Old Stamp I (1930s-1945) Old Stamp IIa (1945-1949) The phrase ‘K Zildjian’ was shrunk compared to the preceding stamp.Also now the font for the word “Istanbul” is as tall as the star and moon.These hats are amazing by the way and in great condition in every way.These would’ve been imported by Gretsch between 1926 when Gretsch became the sole importer & 1930 and can be seen in old catalogs.History The Zildjian Family (of Turkey) represents the longest running cymbal-producing lineage outside of China. K erope Zildjian ran the factory that produced the K Zildjian line of cymbals, in Constantinople (Istanbul).In 1929, Avedis Zildjian III, moved part of the family cymbal business to Massachusetts.
There is no official track record of the stamps used by Zildjian. The proces of stamping wasn't very accurate and the imprint varies.He took a suggestion from Jo Jones, drummer for Count Basie, and mounted cymbals on a pole creating the “hi-hat.” Another idea from Gene Kruppa, drummer for Benny Goodman, led to a big cymbal with a lot of ping called a “ride.” (Wall Street Journal, 5/31/96, p.B1) Other identifying features Other cymbal identifiers may be lost over time, such as stickers, ink labels, grease pencil writing, and signatures under the bell.We know Avedis Zildjian started production in 1929 in the Quincy, Massachusetts USA. In the thirties Zildjian's most popular cymbal measured between 8 and 14 inch, weight paperthin, easily bendable. In the fourties Bebop drummers began to use larger rides and sizzle cymbals.Ride size ranged up to 30 inch and 16 inch Hihats are known from this era. In the fifties and later little inkstamps on odd shaped models say SWISH, PANG or FLANGED HI-HATS, MEDIUM RIDE etc. This is also known as the 'pre-ink' period, so before mid 1970s when Zildjian started the silkscreen ink stamps on the bottom with the open ink-stamp logo.They brought a few cymbalsmiths from Istanbul to Canada following the shutdown of the Turkish foundry. Read more about the K Zildjian cymbals from Canada and later USA.