The Avedis Zildjian company is responsible for the brands Zildjian, Vic Firth, and Balter Mallets. They are a leader in the industry and set the standard for quality cymbals. This centuries-old company began with one man in the Ottoman Empire.
Avedis Zildjian I (The First) was an Armenian alchemist living in Constantinople in the early seventeenth century. In his attempts to create pure gold, he stumbled upon an alloy that, when struck, emitted interesting sound qualities. In 1618 he crafted his first cymbals from the still-secret copper, tin and silver alloy. The instruments had such a powerful and unique sound that they garnered much attention. While he was not able to create gold alchemically, his bronze has brought wealth to fifteen generations of Zildjians.
He left the palace in 1623 to start his own business in a suburb nearby. In 1929 his descendents, sons of sons of the son of a cymbal maker, moved to America and set up in Norwell, Massachusetts.
At four centuries old, Zildjian is recognized as the oldest family-owned business in America. Though they still adhere to many "old world" cymbal-making practices, they also utilize modern technology. Zildjian works with musicians and artists to keep up with the modern world and remain innovative.