Important A. Zildjian Article - "King of Cymbals" - Mechanix Illustrated, Aug. 1954

Franklin Nigel Stein

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Just had another look at my smaller Trans'. Not one single Trans shows a pre-war bell. Just sayin...
You're not really understanding what I'm saying. I'll take several steps away from sarcasm/humor and toward civility to lay it out later tonight when I've got more time.

That will also give me more time to bask in my glory and awesomeness . . . Oohhh, there I go again.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Perhaps I could have written it better. But, Mink Telephones?... It's funny! I didn't make them up. :) Just wanted to set the King of Cymbals article a little more down to earth. I really like it and always have. Just need to take that grain of salt.
 
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Tama CW

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A little bit of anecdotal information that would pertain to this thread.

Was involved with some of the details in a friend buying a 1 owner 1958 Slingerland Krupa 1N/Radio King drum kit. Everything was dead-on original other than 2 batter heads. Nice time capsule.
We expected some SSA small stamps based on the old style lathing in the kit photos. The cymbals were also "shiny." They turned out to all be type 3/4 trans stamps.....14 hats, 16 crash, 20 ride.
The owner was 100% certain everything in the kit was bought on day one. There were no later add-ones either other than replacing a worn out batter head. Yet, he bought new trans stamp cymbals in
1958. This can help explain why you don't see very many large stamp hi hat pairs. If trans stamps were available into the late 1950's, you wouldn't have needed large stamps.

I'm sure others have run into this before....but for me.....it's the first time I have it first/second hand from an 80+ year old living and breathing source. Could the old guy have been mistaken and bought
cymbals with an earlier kit and just forgot? I don't know. He was pretty sharp for an old guy. The kit had knobby faucet style BD tension rods, push button floor tom mounts, and the first gold and brass badges (est 1957-1960).
 
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Cliff DeArment

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Instruments can also sit in a store for years.

If Zenstat's gallery is in the ballpark of Trans up to 1953, it would make it into a store around 1954 or even later. If the drums were bought in 1958, the set would have come out 1957. That gives us 3 years, 1954 to 1957.

"Shiny" is interesting, as there were shiny trans for 3/4 (usually Trans 4). How many people ask for a set of shiny cymbals, which would be at a higher cost? So add another year for the cymbals. That would give us 2 years between. At least we could narrow it down a bit that way. That may give us a reason for difference years, drums vs. cymbals etc.
 

Tama CW

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That's true about instruments sitting in stores for years. I bought my first K Zildjian brand new out of a local music shop around 1992-1994. It was the only large K they had....a 20" Orchestra K too. I wanted to be like Gadd....lol.
Didn't find out until 2018 that I owned an EAK. It must have sat in that store for at least 4-5 yrs. And it wasn't even "pawed" over with prints and marks like you normally see them at GC. In fact, not a single fingerprint on that cymbal.
And I sure as heck never put one on it nor did I ever clean it. Lived in a cloth "sea bag" for 99% of its life. Still have the bag.....but not the cymbal....doh.
 

Franklin Nigel Stein

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Instruments can also sit in a store for years.

If Zenstat's gallery is in the ballpark of Trans up to 1953, it would make it into a store around 1954 or even later. If the drums were bought in 1958, the set would have come out 1957. That gives us 3 years, 1954 to 1957.

"Shiny" is interesting, as there were shiny trans for 3/4 (usually Trans 4). How many people ask for a set of shiny cymbals, which would be at a higher cost? So add another year for the cymbals. That would give us 2 years between. At least we could narrow it down a bit that way. That may give us a reason for difference years, drums vs. cymbals etc.
How 38-42 A. Zildjians ended up as Trans Stamp Cymbals. ILLUSTRATION METHOD

(Golden Rule when studying businesses via Systems Analysis is this: Follow the Money)

& Sorry I’m late with this, but its a hectic time of year for me.

The year is 1938 and you, my friend, are Avedis Zildjian. You’ve been in the cymbal business for 10 years and the depression has been tough to slog through. (As earlier established) You and your small workforce no longer work to fill order. Instead, Zildjian Co. makes cymbals that go straight to stock (storage). You make sell enough cymbals to pay your bills and keep your central (and expert) employees busy & able to feed their families.

You make more than just the cymbals listed/picture here but these are what drummers are mainly looking for around 1938:

Pic #1.jpg

And this is what the typical Drum Kit looks like from the same circa 1938 Rogers Drum Catalog:

Pic #2.jpg

Whereas 10 years prior when medium and heavy cymbals were more commonly used by drummers, the late 1930s brings about the use of much thinner cymbals in dance music. WWII hits limiting and then eliminating the availability of both copper and tin. You stay in business selling new old stock cymbals to the US Military marching and dance bands.

After the war, you have a large number of what wasn’t selling before the war, Medium and Heavy Cymbals. You don’t want to waste what you have in storage, so you instruct your cymbal makers to simply lathe down the thicker cymbals that are generally just collecting dust (a few sell and are just given a Trans stamp).

This allows you to:
  • sell the thicker cymbals to whoever wants them (that’s why some Trans stamp cymbals are dead ringers for 1930s varieties) - $$$!
  • Lathe down the thicker cymbals, matching the new ones to where popular music is at the time. Doing this is waaaaay easier and cheaper than going through the whole process and it reduces your on hand stock - $$$!
  • Collect, smelt and reuse the material lathed off the now thinner cymbals. (now the scarcity of raw materials is way less of an issue)
  • And then use the recycled metal to create the larger cymbals that are suddenly in demand for new music styles (Bebop, etc) $$$!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a solid analysis of all the available material, data, catalogs etc I’ve gotten my hands on. They’re just theories until I get my time machine back from the shop, but all known boxes are checked.
 

Cliff DeArment

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The question is, how many cymbals made per year. If stamps work by years and order:

Trans 1 1946-49: They seem to be the least out there.
Trans 2 1949: Many more than Trans 1.
Trans 3 1950-52: The most we find from that era, hands down.
Trans 4 1952-53: Less than Trans 4.
(Steve would know much better as to how many there are of all Trans, just eye balling here.)

So, very fair to say there were Trans 1 made before or during WWII. But, we're talking 1938 to 1949, 11 years. How many made? Count them up if you can. How far did they go? Good question. However, the bell is usually the giveaway. Show a Trans year with bell lathing and we have more to work with (for me anyway). I do know (as far as I can tell) there were two different bell lathe makers, different people during those years, pre-war or post-war. Does anyone have a pre-war bell with a Trans 1, or any other Trans? I would bet there are, but most likely quite rare.

I know what you're trying to say. But, where are they? Proof is in the pudding.
 
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Cliff DeArment

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There is a theory offered by Franklln, above. This theory must be supported by evidence. Once this is offered, it can be followed by others to verify and find other possibilities to pursue. A few pictures might be a good start to begin to agree with this theory.

Franklin may be completely correct with his theory, but there should be something solid beyond talk.
 

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How 38-42 A. Zildjians ended up as Trans Stamp Cymbals. ILLUSTRATION METHOD

(Golden Rule when studying businesses via Systems Analysis is this: Follow the Money)

& Sorry I’m late with this, but its a hectic time of year for me.

The year is 1938 and you, my friend, are Avedis Zildjian. You’ve been in the cymbal business for 10 years and the depression has been tough to slog through. (As earlier established) You and your small workforce no longer work to fill order. Instead, Zildjian Co. makes cymbals that go straight to stock (storage). You make sell enough cymbals to pay your bills and keep your central (and expert) employees busy & able to feed their families.

You make more than just the cymbals listed/picture here but these are what drummers are mainly looking for around 1938:

View attachment 513235

And this is what the typical Drum Kit looks like from the same circa 1938 Rogers Drum Catalog:

View attachment 513236

Whereas 10 years prior when medium and heavy cymbals were more commonly used by drummers, the late 1930s brings about the use of much thinner cymbals in dance music. WWII hits limiting and then eliminating the availability of both copper and tin. You stay in business selling new old stock cymbals to the US Military marching and dance bands.

After the war, you have a large number of what wasn’t selling before the war, Medium and Heavy Cymbals. You don’t want to waste what you have in storage, so you instruct your cymbal makers to simply lathe down the thicker cymbals that are generally just collecting dust (a few sell and are just given a Trans stamp).

This allows you to:
  • sell the thicker cymbals to whoever wants them (that’s why some Trans stamp cymbals are dead ringers for 1930s varieties) - $$$!
  • Lathe down the thicker cymbals, matching the new ones to where popular music is at the time. Doing this is waaaaay easier and cheaper than going through the whole process and it reduces your on hand stock - $$$!
  • Collect, smelt and reuse the material lathed off the now thinner cymbals. (now the scarcity of raw materials is way less of an issue)
  • And then use the recycled metal to create the larger cymbals that are suddenly in demand for new music styles (Bebop, etc) $$$!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a solid analysis of all the available material, data, catalogs etc I’ve gotten my hands on. They’re just theories until I get my time machine back from the shop, but all known boxes are checked.
I lv this 'once upon a time' story but having had/have quite a few of these era cymbals I can confidently say I've had thins from early 30's and heavies from late 30's. Your going to have to provide concrete evidence in order to change what has already been documented.
 

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I lv this 'once upon a time' story but having had/have quite a few of these era cymbals I can confidently say I've had thins from early 30's and heavies from late 30's. Your going to have to provide concrete evidence in order to change what has already been documented.
Ditto. And I've had heavy as heck trans stamp hi hat pairs too.

But in stark contrast to the perception of "heavy" 30's cymbals, I have a "pile" of NOS first stamp Zildjians, and the majority of them are thin, paper thin, and ultra thins. Only 15% of them would I consider "heavy."
Hard to say what that information is worth because the previous owner(s) could have focused on obtaining mostly lighter ones....OR....they got then randomly out of old Music Store stocks or Vaulted inventories.
 
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Cliff DeArment

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To add... As heavies were mostly used by Drum Corps (marching bands actually used normal mediums, as students didn't have the hand strength), at the end of the war Senior Corps went crazy and started at every town. No reason to re-lathe, as every new Legion or VFW corps had the money to buy them. There was a lot more than Big Band and Jazz guys at the time. Every corps needed 3 to 5 pair. It settled down in the 60's as Vietnam began. Most corps went down because of it and trashed them in the landfill. That's why we don't see that many these days. In the 70's I did corps (both Senior and Junior, 9 years of it.) and learned about this kind of history from the old dudes. If you look at old catalogs there was always a section for corps/band, most for corps because of the bugles (not trumpets). There were more Senior Corps than colleges back then! That's a lot of heavies!
 
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Franklin Nigel Stein

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On the one hand, I’m not convinced that much has been “established”. Data has been collected and observations have been made, to be sure.

On the other hand, there is a foolproof way to reach a fair conclusion to at least some of the questions. Steel made in the three decades after WWII has a nuclear presence because of all the in atmosphere bomb tests (Google that one) The art community uses the tech to spot fake antiques in multiple materials. And I’m pretty sure copper can be tested. If the metal has no evidence of radiation, it’s pre 1945 at least. And given the market realities of wartime, it’s a pretty safe bet they’re even earlier.

At the very least, that would lead to some future positive discussion long after we’re all gone. This may sound funny to some but I “love” my cymbals. And I feel good thinking that if they’re well cared for, generations of drummers will enjoy the wonder and pleasure I have when I play them.

I don’t want to be buried with the things. Let em crash!
 

Cliff DeArment

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nuclear presence because of all the in atmosphere bomb tests (Google that one)
Goggled it... possible. Looked through the Manhattan Project. Fallout movement went north east. Found the mines around the area and most copper was from Arizona, but no real way to tell, as there are other places. Trinity was in New Mexico (east from Arizona), but still pretty close. I look for that kind of stuff. (Yes, I have no life! LOL.) Get a Geiger Counter and test it ($50 on Amazon).
 

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A's were never meant to be "specific" what "specifics" is anyone seeking to entertain when the entire point (with A's) was a general Turkish cymbal for a general population of musician. What "closure' is anyone seeking to establish when it comes to "A's"

trying to pin down an operation that was at best random is an interesting life endeavor
think it's sufficient what we know have uncovered and disseminated about "A's" up to this point
$2 tell me I'm rwong.

This excavation expedition worked on (began with) old K's where changes were crystal clear, lined up and steadfast (old K era/teams were strict)
trying (it seems) to apply same principles on "A's"...*
"A's" by nature -by mission statement- were the random ones (a contrary reverse of the popular belief)

* or maybe A excavators aren't but not working out too well besides what's already known)
I (over time) got the sense "it worked on old Ks" so similarly it's going to work with A's
my answer to that is no and yes.
Even if you group A's by year let's have some general sound characteristics and call it a day I think we all know them by now.
 
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Franklin Nigel Stein

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A's were never meant to be "specific" what "specifics" is anyone seeking to entertain when the entire point (with A's) was a general Turkish cymbal for a general population of musician. What "closure' is anyone seeking to establish when it comes to "A's"

trying to pin down an operation that was at best random is an interesting life endeavor
think it's sufficient what we know have uncovered and disseminated about "A's" up to this point
$2 tell me I'm rwong.

This excavation expedition worked on old K's because changes were crystal clear, lined up and were steadfast
"A's" by nature were the random ones (contrary to the popular belief)
What we’d learn is whether a few to a plurality of Trans stamp A Zildjians were made years before they were marked. And if it really goes off the rails, we could even learn if that continued deeper into the decade.

As for testing, I don’t know if a dosimeter off Amazon would do the trick. It might if we’re lucky. If we’re not, you’d need high end testing through a university that has both the right equipment AND a drummer on staff.

At least the way to see if the cheapy method works is easy. A cymbal made in 1963 will have the highest reading (atmospheric test ban that year). If you could get a reading from any of them, that would be first in line.
 
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Cliff DeArment

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As for testing, I don’t know if a dosimeter off Amazon would do the trick. It might if we’re lucky. If we’re not, you’d need high end testing through a university that has both the right equipment AND a drummer on staff.
Not surprised a dosimeter might not do it. Can't hurt to try. There are universities. You're a drummer. Go there and ask them to test some cymbals. It's just another "theory" isn't it? Have to work on it, or we will never know anything. Can at least narrow things down if we care. Or just blab... :cool:
 


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