Avedis Zildjian I (The First) was an Armenian alchemist living in Constantinople in the early seventeenth century. While struggling to use his metals to create pure gold, he stumbled upon an alloy of copper, tin, and small amounts of silver which when struck, emitted interesting sound qualities. In 1618 he crafted his first cymbals, instruments with such powerful, unique sound they garnered much attention.
While he did not alchemically create gold, his bronze has yielded much gold since then.
Avedis I (The First) was invited to live at court, in the palace of the Sultan no less, and to make cymbals for the bands. The Sultan renamed him Zildjian in Armenian which translates to "Son of Cymbal Maker".
He left the palace in 1623 to start his own business in a suburb nearby. In 1929 his descendants, sons of sons of the son of a cymbal maker, moved to America and set up in Norwell, Massachusetts.
The current owners are the fifteenth generation in the family (!). At four centuries old, Zildjian is recognized as the oldest family-owned business in America.