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+1 Important Period Article about Early A. Zildjians

Franklin Nigel Stein

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I'm posting these as I get them to help along our collective understanding of early A. Zildjian cymbals and cymbal making. The previous two articles I put up were from 1949 and 1954.

This article is from an August 13, 1949 New Yorker Magazine. Its a good solid source for researching the topic as they have a long history of reporting excellence. Some things to look for as you're reading:

1. In 1949, Zildjian had "several thousand" cymbals that had been aging for 15 years. You can read about that in another article I posted here written in 1954. This 1949 article gives us the scope of that later article and puts a general number on their stash.

That puts a lock on the fact that a substantial number of Trans Stamp cymbals marked and sold after WWII were actually made in the 1930s. It also tells us that it had been going on for pretty much their whole existence (company founded in 1929). By that last statement I mean that for whatever reason, Zildjian kept some substantial portion of their cymbals around, selling them more than a decade after making them. It's a pretty safe bet that the Great Depression was the reason behind that, imho. I would further guess that they stopped keeping them around so long once they're sales picked up after WWII.

2. In January 1949 Zildjian made their first gong, purchased by West Point (Government purchase so it's possible someone could get a hold of that receipt!)

3. It seems that Sonny Greer liked to stomp on two cymbals at the same time. . . good times!

4. Avedis Zildjian claimed that during the time between 1939 and 1949, his company had made 90% of the world's cymbals. Interesting though that wouldn't be that tough given the war years and severe rationing of the copper (and tin) needed for their manufacturing.

Second post will be the article broken up into four easy to read columns.
 

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Franklin Nigel Stein

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Post #2, the readable portion. Sorry for the weird colorations. I took photos of the magazine I bought on eBay and then photoshopped it together on my computer. In that August 13, 1949 issue, the article is on pages 20-21.

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Swissward Flamtacles

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Thanks for sharing that article!
Next time I'm at a music store, I'll make sure to jump on all cymbals. If a clerk tries to stop me, I'll tell him to F off - "Mr. Greer sent me!"
 

JDA

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So I guess you can figure why all these Vault Cymbals are being sold; Zildjian always had a backlog of cymbals stored.. for the various reasons..

they been dragging them (with each move) around for 70 + 80 years..


We are pleased and proud to release genuine, 1940s – 1950’s-era vintage A Zildjian cymbals from Armand’s personal collection in celebration of what would have been Armand’s 100th birthday, and all that he achieved in his illustrious life. This special collection of early A Zildjian instruments was first stored in a bank safe in the Quincy plant, and after being handed to Armand following the passing of his father, Avedis III, have since been kept alongside other precious cymbals in the Zildjian Family Vault.


Look at the cup on some of them

BLOCK_9_1_.png


Look at the cup on some of them
You all have (mm.. maybe) old As in your collection like that. Difference was yours was released.
Probably more (large diameter) (20" 1945 year A. ) in this vault than were ever circulated and retailed until now
 
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Frank Godiva

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“Crafted in the 1940's in the original USA Factory in Quincy, MA, the Paper Thin Cymbal was developed by Avedis Zildjian by listening closely to the requests of the top drummers of the day. When Avedis first started making cymbals in Quincy, he was making heavy K’s like those being made in Istanbul. It was Gene Krupa who encouraged Avedis to make a thinner cymbal which allowed the drummers to phrase and crash on. This was also the first patent issued for a specifically designed cymbal.”

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Cliff DeArment

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Now we have something to work with!

Let's start on the numbers.
Start of Avedis: 1929
US Stock market crash: 1929
Unemployment peak: 1932 23.6% to early 1933 25%

Unemployment.
Where did the most unemployed people come from? Many were from farm workers from the great drought (Dust Bowl, etc.), illegally riding on freight trains to the cities, building Hoovervilles such as New York City. Those who had homes and apartments also had little or no money to buy items. In this case, from 1929 to 1932, very few people could buy items like cymbals, other than the rich.

Let's continue.
What Avedis and his sons spoke: "None of these (cymbals) get out of the foundry until they've been allowed to mature for at least SIX months…. They've got no tone…" Ok, so the sales of the company really started in 1930. How long did it take for people to start buying those cymbals. Most likely somewhat after that time, as people didn't yet know the company. So, let's think more in terms of 1931, at least.

Money.
How much money did Avedis have when the company started? He had a place to make candy and a place to live. Who was the successful candy maker? The name Shegalian and Avedis Varteresian. His nephew offered Avedis Zildjian to accompany him to America. Who payed for it? Unknown, given by the modern Zildjian company.

Spoken by the company, "His business sense, coupled with his strong work ethic was providing a decent living for his family." How much was a "decent" living in 1929? Avedis at some point became the owner of the candy company. Did he own the building? Zildjian: "He had neither the time nor the money to sink into an operation (cymbals)…" I know it's typical to take 2 to the 3 years to start breaking even no matter how much money you have, always have been (I've had to do it). Avedis had to buy a building, tools, copper, tin, and pay other workers (not the candy makers). That would be breaking even taking it from candy company to cymbals. So, how much did he have in he's pocket? Not much.

Then Krupa showed up. When did Krupa meet Avedis? Unknown as to date. What do we know about Krupa? He made six recordings with the Thelma Terry band in 1928. In 1929 Terry disbanded his band (The Playboys). There is no further information on WIKI until 1934 when Krupa joined Benny Goodman's band, best known for Sing Sing Sing, 1936. The Zildjian company often speaks of Krupa and Goodman. So, the earliest it could be is 1934, most likely later than that. He wanted thinner cymbals, telling them they were all heavy (said by the company). A cymbal has to sit in the vault for at least 6 months, correct? Let's add that number at maybe 1935 or later.

Let's keep going. Zildjian: "In the mid 30's… top name drummers made the trip to Norfolk Downs to meet with Avedis…." This is the real beginning of the Avedis Zildjian company. So, here we really know when they started making cymbals as a real money business of any size. Ok… now, let's put a bunch of cymbals in a vault for 15 years! Great idea! Ummmmm….

Let's go back. 1934 to 1949. Cymbals 15 years old. Thousand of them sitting in a vault. For what? How? They had orders to sell.

Metals.
What was the cost of Copper and Tin at that time through the whole depression? (I don't have any numbers for that. Anyone?)

One percent silver.
There is real data on this number. Zenstat would have the precise amount (I have it somewhere, but he can verify it). From this evidence, silver is quite lower than 1%. If I remember correctly, silver really had nothing to do with cymbal making. It just sounds good.

In 1949, Avedis had cymbals sitting for 15 years. In 1954, Avedis had cymbals sitting for 15 years. Why is that the same number? Marketing.

So, how many cymbals did Avedis really have in 1949? How many in 1954?

What we really have here are stories. not reality. It's a money business and it worked!

Find evidence and we have something real. :)
 
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afwdrums

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That puts a lock on the fact that a substantial number of Trans Stamp cymbals marked and sold after WWII were actually made in the 1930s.

but how do we know for a fact that those "several thousand" cymbals in the vault that Robert mentioned were actually released and sold? how do we know for a fact that those cymbals are not still sitting in the current vault?

the articles you post are interesting for sure, I appreciate you posting them and getting a discussion going, and I hope you continue to do so, but you also present your info as "facts" with very little but anecdotal evidence to support
 

Cliff DeArment

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How do we know if there were ANY cymbals left in that vault in 1939? Does that even matter? See a cymbal, not a story.
 

zenstat

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“Crafted in the 1940's in the original USA Factory in Quincy, MA, the Paper Thin Cymbal was developed by Avedis Zildjian by listening closely to the requests of the top drummers of the day. When Avedis first started making cymbals in Quincy, he was making heavy K’s like those being made in Istanbul. It was Gene Krupa who encouraged Avedis to make a thinner cymbal which allowed the drummers to phrase and crash on. This was also the first patent issued for a specifically designed cymbal.”

View attachment 515619 View attachment 515620

Your quote comes from the Zildjian web site:


but they haven't done a good job of reporting their old patents.

The 1951 patent (pat no 2559143) which Zildjian show on the website is not specifically for a paper thin cymbal. Nor is it specifically for a crash ride as is sometimes suggested. It is for the use of different levels of lathing in different annular zones on a cymbal to create sonic effects. It's about taper.

That 1940 patent (pat no 2189095) is not specifically for a paper thin cymbal ether. It is the patent for the first SWISH model. Read the whole patent and you will see it mentions the upturned edge and on the final page has the word swish in it to describe the sound.

I've attached them so people can read them for themselves.

If I were looking for a testable proposition about when certain cymbals were made, I'd look to see when different sorts of taper started appearing in the timeline. It is also useful to look at the nature of the early SWISH cymbals as we know that specific shape was only brought in around 1938. It even had its own trademark stamp for some of the time

Avedis-swish.jpg


which is illustrated in the 1939 Ludwig Catalog

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Tama CW

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Prices of metals in the great depression? Not hard to find. I know from memory that silver was the lowest in the past 120+ years (if not since the founding of our country) was 28c/troy ounce in 1932-1933 at the depths of the depression.
Recall that a silver dollar always had 77c worth of 0.999 fine equivalent silver in it since they started making Morgan dollars in 1878. Literally, our silver dollars were worth 22c in 1932....at least in metal content. Talk about a "bargain." Copper reached the lowest price of the
past 160 yrs in 1932 at $1.00/lb. It had been $6/lb in the Civil War period. Copper reached the $1 price again around 2002. It's now at $3.50'lb. During the 1930's it stayed at $2/lb or under. Tin wouldn't have been very much either. But can't find the data.

Still comes down to the fact that trans stamps "made" in the 1930's would look like 1930's Zildjians. And most of them do not. The type 3/4's that make up the bulk of them certainly aren't close in appearance. Some of the type 1/2's do have an
appearance like the Zildjian "second" stamps. The Zildjians I've owned with the most crude look and heavy fisted hammering would seem to come out of that 1929-1936 period (my opinion)....and yes, they mostly seem to be the "heavy weights" of that period.

I recall reading an article or blurb from Ron Francis who stated Zildjian still had 10,000-15,000 "new" cymbals in their vaults as of the past several decades. And nothing would suggest it has been depleted. Sort of like the Zildjian museum or historical society....
the rainy day fund. Probably way too many cymbals for anyone other than Armand, Bob, or Lennie (and maybe Ron) to have had a handle on what was in there.
 
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Franklin Nigel Stein

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So I guess you can figure why all these Vault Cymbals are being sold; Zildjian always had a backlog of cymbals stored.. for the various reasons..

they been dragging them (with each move) around for 70 + 80 years..


We are pleased and proud to release genuine, 1940s – 1950’s-era vintage A Zildjian cymbals from Armand’s personal collection in celebration of what would have been Armand’s 100th birthday, and all that he achieved in his illustrious life. This special collection of early A Zildjian instruments was first stored in a bank safe in the Quincy plant, and after being handed to Armand following the passing of his father, Avedis III, have since been kept alongside other precious cymbals in the Zildjian Family Vault.


Look at the cup on some of them

BLOCK_9_1_.png


Look at the cup on some of them
You all have (mm.. maybe) old As in your collection like that. Difference was yours was released.
Probably more (large diameter) (20" 1945 year A. ) in this vault than were ever circulated and retailed until now

Saw those when they came out. I'm sure Avedis kept some just because he felt connected to them, sort of like framing your first dollar.

The real thing of interest should be that in 1949 there were "several thousands" of cymbals in a vault (several means 3 or more so I'm not sure how many that was). In the 1954 article there were still some undisclosed number of 15 year old cymbals. That would mean that moving forward into the mid 1950s there were still more to sell so. . .
 

Franklin Nigel Stein

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And I should say right now that I'm not posting these articles to answer questions, just add to the discussion. Its unfortunate that these things haven't been a part of the "in the open" discussion as far as I can tell, time to change that.
 

Franklin Nigel Stein

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Let's go back. 1934 to 1949. Cymbals 15 years old. Thousand of them sitting in a vault. For what? How? They had orders to sell.

Metals.
What was the cost of Copper and Tin at that time through the whole depression? (I don't have any numbers for that. Anyone?)

Kinda feels like you're throwing 10,000 words at a much smaller discussion to confuse the issue. I'm sure they had orders all along, but as we read in the previous articles, they made cymbals consistently whether they were shipping it imminently or not. If they made more than they sold (clearly they did), they began to pile up.

Additionally, in 1949 they have "several thousand" 15 year old cymbals on hand. Are you getting that??? Hello, are you there??? Forget about Trans Stamps from 1947 or 1948. Who knows how many they had then? In 1949 they had "several thousand" of them.

In 1954 they still had some unknown number of "15 year old" cymbals on hand, I would assume those were still being finished and sold out the door. AND THEY STILL HAD SOME TO GO AFTER THAT, UNLESS THEY WIPED OUT THEIR STASH IN 1954.

The cold reality is that they were likely still selling them after the Trans Stamps were done and gone.

I get that this is bringing some people understanding and claims of when A Zildjian trans stamp cymbals (and later) were made but we're all wrong sometimes. Man up and move on here people. The real discussion isn't move forward much until you do.

And do you REALLY want me to dump a bunch of mining stats and articles on a drumming website?
 

Franklin Nigel Stein

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Franklin Nigel Stein

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For the bigger one (a report on the critical shortage of copper in 1947), you're going to need to log in through an educational institution. Sorry, can't give you my login.

 

Franklin Nigel Stein

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And this is probably the best place to start if you're a bit into scholastic reading and want to get down the nitty gritty.

Just google the title. It's only 79 pages.
 

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1988fxlr

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does anyone know if Zildjian had sufficient government contract in the wwii and korea years to get around metal rationing and maintain production?
 


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