Time To Shake Up Early A. Zildjian Dating (Early K's Too!)

Franklin Nigel Stein

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I know this is going to ruin more than a few A. Zildjian collector's day, but hey, I'm a giver.

It's kind of funny that I've disagreed with many of the claims regarding the manufacturing dates of early A. Zildjian cymbals (1928-1953) quietly for years, while not doing much research on the matter myself. A couple of days ago I got motivated and visited some of my old favorite research web sites. I have a few leads, a period article coming in the mail and a some research material from a famous scholar stuck at the UCLA library closed due to COVID. So. . . there is more to come.

But THIS is going to shake some things up! (And if you collect old K Zildjians, you need to start looking for ones made for sale in Europe around 1850-1865 with both Turkish AND French stamps on them.

I'm uploading the cover doc from JSTOR.org, which maintains a large cache of viewable Journal articles dating back to the 1600s for research purposes. Pretty much every University and College in America has free access for it's student. But anyone can create a free account to read up to 100 articles per month. It's completely searchable. (there are a number of other similar academic sites that usually have material specific to different areas of study.

This article was written in 1949 by Thomas R. Navin, Associate Professor of History at Harvard College (Undergrad School at Harvard University), and will have conformed to high academic standards of research. The author clearly interviewed Zildjian family members for this work

This page contains the most important info for this discussion, but the whole article is really informative, (though with typical 1940s language). Check it out. I'm only including this one page due to my use agreement with JSTOR.

The takeaways are pretty much this:

1. Zildjian didn't make that many early cymbals because of the depression.
2. Avedis Zildjian decided to continue to produce cymbals for stock rather than order (no date given in the article) - meaning he made them just to pile them up while waiting for the economy to improve. He sold enough to survive and keep his employees busy.
3. A fire in 1939 destroyed half of the Zildjian foundry and thus their production capacity.
4. WWII hit and the workforce was reduced to 3 employees (the three are mentioned a couple of pages earlier - they were Armenian immigrants who were with the company from the beginning, plus they would have been older and not subject to the draft)
5. Tin was a restricted war material so it's likely that Zildjian made few if any cymbals during the war years, instead selling them from stock to the U.S. Military.
6. Even after the war, tin was in short supply (a huge amount of canned food was sent to Europe under the Marshall Plan), so Zildjian's production did not immediately ramp back just because the war ended.

And all of this, ladies and gentlemen, leads us to here: After WWII, Zildjian began to slowly ramp up production while at the same time selling cymbals from the stock they'd been sitting on for years. My best educated guess is that the Trans Stamp we're all familiar is an effort to put less stress on cymbals that had been sitting in a curing vault or warehouse for a decade. So, if you're wondering when your Trans Stamp was made, the answer is probably 1938-42. The earliest Trans Stamps were likely mostly old stock, while they were progressively sold to make room for the newly made variety (further guessing that large rides were made after the war while the smaller ones were made before just due to the changes in music and the needs of drummers).

Which finally leads us to. . . . .

PEW PEW PEW - BOOM!!! SCORE ONE FOR THE FRANKSTER!

edit - if you're really motivated, you can have trans stamps tested to see if there's latent radioactivity present. If there isn't, it's pre-1945.

edit II - this is Systems Theory and Analysis at work!
 

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Cliff DeArment

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In my view, we've found that stamps tell us very little. What we really have is bell/cup, plate connection, lathing and thickness types. A stamp has become an afterthought. Tell me about the cymbal first. Especially the bell. That can tell us everything we need in a nutshell, even within a few years.

The 1 through 6 statements above are well known. Don't forget copper. That was a big deal. Always good to get motivated! We've had a good group here working pretty hard, 8 years for me almost every day when possible. So, glad you're with us. Now, back to work! :cool:
 
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JDA

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Old K stamp (certainty remains (different solid as an atomic clock (if not in the exact beginning and end year of date certainly in 'the build' corespondent with insignia....

You see that's the difference ..(can't lump the two together: (A stamp the way and how and K stamp their way and how and why ) two different methods and beasts

I'm going to tell ya ooops, say something.
For one company that used more machine assistance compared to the other
Old Ks (builds) Were More Consistent...
the reason being: smaller teams creating each cymbal (less lathers less hammerers, etc
Smaller team
is the Key to (old K era) consistency

Less random than Avedis Zildjian
(seems, sometimes impossible to find two As that (even look) (let alone sound) the same; Old ks look (and sound) like the same fella lathed (same hammer team hammered) every one, thru an entire era.


It's ironic
but
put bank on it
 
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Mcjnic

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In my view, we've found that stamps tells us very little. What we really have is bell/cup, plate connection, lathing and thickness types. A stamp has become an afterthought. Tell me about the cymbal first. Especially the bell. That can tell us everything we need in a nutshell, even within a few years.

The 1 through 6 statements above are well known. Don't forget copper. That was a big deal. Always good to get motivated! We've had a good group here working pretty hard, 8 years for me almost every day when possible. So, glad you're with us. Now, back to work! :cool:
You’ll have to do better much than that to ruin my day, Keep it coming !
Am I missing something?
Is there a personal thing with the member?
I am genuinely curious about the data and the posted guides.
Are they being updated?
Should they be updated?
Is this all already accounted?
And if so, why weren’t the guides adjusted?
That sort of stuff.
 

JDA

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I'd like to submit post #5 to the Smithsonian
for approval and adoption should only take 5 minutes to ok it

Cliff can I have your second and we're in..
 

Cliff DeArment

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Second made. K vs. A is quite true. I'm more of an A person. Not that I like them better, just need a K in my hand and play it before I cough up 2k on it. We can learn about an A stamp, but when was the cymbal really made? That's the question. Whatever you do, don't get me started on 1954! We'd be here for months. LOL
 
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Redfern

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Am I missing something?
Is there a personal thing with the member?
I am genuinely curious about the data and the posted guides.
Are they being updated?
Should they be updated?
Is this all already accounted?
And if so, why weren’t the guides adjusted?
That sort of stuff.
I believe that @zenstat has already reviewed and either corroborated or debunked the above mentioned info…correct me if I’m wrong @zenstat ????
 

Cliff DeArment

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Am I missing something?
Is there a personal thing with the member?
I am genuinely curious about the data and the posted guides.
Are they being updated?
Should they be updated?
Is this all already accounted?
And if so, why weren’t the guides adjusted?
That sort of stuff.
What would you like to know or find? One thing at a time, if we might have it or not. Best to start a new thread in this case.

I have no issue with the first member above. Don't know the person at all.

My work (if I can call it that) is updated quite often. I know Zenstat does it each day. The problem is, putting it up on the interwebs takes more time than working on the project. Sometimes we also think we know something, and later find it's wrong. Remember years back when the world was flat? That's why we keep working on it day by day.
 

Mcjnic

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Awesome.
I just wanted to know if this was a part of the guides of today.
It seemed interesting to me and relatively simple to corroborate with some current or past employees of Zildjian.
More of a curiosity than anything.
There didn’t appear to be a healthy discussion here.
Honestly … it sort of felt dismissive.
That struck me as odd so I figured I’d ask.
Really appreciate the straight responses, though.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Awesome.
I just wanted to know if this was a part of the guides of today.
It seemed interesting to me and relatively simple to corroborate with some current or past employees of Zildjian.
More of a curiosity than anything.
There didn’t appear to be a healthy discussion here.
Honestly … it sort of felt dismissive.
That struck me as odd so I figured I’d ask.
Really appreciate the straight responses, though.
I see what you mean. Probably should have written it differently. I apologize if needed. :)
 

Mcjnic

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Not at all.
I was just trying to make sense of it.

So … is it a part of the guides?
 
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Franklin Nigel Stein

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For the doubters out there (I don't even begin to have all the answers here), I'll put things in story form.

And cut me some slack as I just happen to come from a different perspective where the big picture of interrelated things is king.

THE STORY AND PAYOFF:

A man moved to a new city and got a job as the night manager of an all night pharmacy. He agreed with the owner that he would start in two weeks, on a Monday. On the Sunday before, he got a call from the store that the woman he was to replace had become suddenly ill and he agreed to start that night instead.

Things went smoothly until an old man with a box walked in around 2am and began to remove items from the shelf, placing them in the box. The new manager asked him what he was doing and he replied in broken English, “these are mine”. After a few minutes of trying to dissuade the man, who was by then walking for the door, the police were called. By this time, two customers had begun to take video of the situation with their phones, recording everything that was going on as well as all the items he was attempting to remove from the store.

The old man was arrested, all the while insisting that the items were his. A careful record was taken of everything for the court case that was sure to follow. The identification, number and value of every item as well as video evidence of him trying to remove them from the store, was documented and prepared for the District Attorney’s office.

The old man had bailed out the next morning and went to court with his Lawyer a week later. Before the judge, the man’s lawyer presented the bill of sale and surrounding financial documentation of the all-cash sale of the pharmacy that had taken place one week before the arrest, which included the company, building and all the stock in it. It turned out that the man and his family had immigrated to the United States two years prior, purchasing a competing pharmacy and had just recently purchased the new store to expand their business.

The judge apologized for the mistake, but the old man replied through his daughter, “what I value most about this country is the rule of law. Where I came from, I would still be in jail while the authorities attempted to extort as much money from me as possible. Here, I only have to prove my innocence and I’m free to go on my way.”

**********

The lesson to be learned? Observation and statistics are important to research, and to understanding in general. But without context they generally range from (at best) incomplete all the way to downright deceptive.

When it comes to arriving at a reasonable understanding of when, how or why a cymbal was made (short of inventing a time machine to remove any doubt), the way forward needs to incorporate at least a basic understanding of interrelated fields (including but not limited to):

Music
History
Sociology
Metallurgy
Business Administration
Engineering
Law
Physics
 

Franklin Nigel Stein

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And I'm sorry that I haven't been more attentive to the thread. My pastor actually asked me to preach this Sunday. Been a while and its burning through more than a few of my hours.

First United Church of Ghouls, Monsters and DMV Employees
 
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Mcjnic

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Ok.
This one is getting even more odd.
Just asked a simple question.
Thanks for the info.
You guys are just weird.
Hitting the Ignore and I’m out.
 

JDA

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just need a K in my hand and play it before I cough up 2k on it.
own 18 of them (13s 14s 16s 18s 20s 22)
never paid over $660 for one (once $1K but decided after a few years didn't need and sold)

days of buying them are over
unless it's a single 14"
I might be tempted

a picture, the weight and the stamp (with experience) is an 80% sound predictor
the remaining 20% usually the sugar on top)


So anyway lets carry on this interesting discussion now that McJnic has had his what ever
 
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Cliff DeArment

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Two things to think of...

Great Depression from 1929 to 1939. High unemployment continued until 1941.

WW2 - Making cymbals for the military.

Always good to take anything with a grain of salt.
 
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WaggoRecords

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The operating assumption with the black.net guide seems to be that the date the cymbal was produced and the date the cymbal was stamped are the same or at least close. I know zenstat has said otherwise and generally we know this assumption to be incorrect, but that raises an important question:

How accurate are the stamping dates? For instance, if we see a 50s stamp, do we at least know the cymbal was stamped in that era and only in that era? This would help narrow down probabilities of “true” positives and “false” positives when trying to ID an old A only through the stamp.
 

Cliff DeArment

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Stamp only? Zen had mentioned about Zildjian possibly having 3 different stamping areas. (Maybe from Paul Francis? I forget.) Not sure if they were all using the same stamps at the same time or 3 different ones. Could be they were even using large stamps and small stamps at the same time. What we do know with high probability is the order of stamps in chunks: early, mid, late. I think Steve's gallery is for all of us to learn about each one of them. The dates can only put us in the ballpark.
 
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