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Zildjian: Making Cymbals for the E Street Band and Other Stars


Long-established manufacturers are understandably proud of their companies’ heritage. Many of the manufacturers highlighted on are publicly-traded or family-owned businesses whose legacy goes back many generations. None reach back further, though, than a Massachusetts-based percussion-products manufacturer named Zildjian that traces its history back to the year 1623.

The $50 million, 15th-generation company employs more than 110 people. Its customers include music educators, bands and orchestras, and popular musicians like Max Weinberg (of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band fame), Mick Fleetwood, Chicago drummer Tris Imboden, and Joey Kramer of Aerosmith. Today, the company’s products include a broad variety of cymbals that produce uniquely different sounds, along with digital cymbal processors, drumsticks and mallets.

The roots of the enterprise date back to Avedis Zildjian, an Armenian alchemist who composed a unique mixture of copper, tin and silver to create cymbals with unique sounds. His instruments won the favor of the Sultan, who asked him to move into the palace and make cymbals full-time. After doing so for a period of years, Avedis received the Sultan’s permission to strike out on his own as an entrepreneur. Avedis’s descendents nurtured the business for generations, and then moved its operations to the U.S. in 1929. The company is now based in Norwell, Massachusetts, an affluent small town south and east of Boston; and the sounds of its cymbals can be heard around the world.