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Old 11-21-2019, 02:57 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Default Re: Zildjian Clone? Zildjian K? What is this?

I've reviewed drum catalogs from 1930 onwards and compiled an overview. The choice of 1930 was because this review started out with a focus on Avedis Zildjian history (and Avedis Zildjian value lines in particular) rather than K Zildjian Istanbul. That's also why I don't specifically mention the Gretsch owned trademark Ajaha. This is just a work in progress


Based on what I found, it looks like Italian cymbals were being supplied via US and UK drum catalogs until the early 1950s. There were second (less expensive) lines from Avedis Zildjian and in those cases the Italians were a third line. Then Paiste appeared on the scene and things get a little more complicated with another player in the mix. Italian cymbals didn't go away in the 1950s, but they started looking different. They were still pretending to be Turkish in origin, but they now looked like the Turkish cymbals of the day. And Gretsch (who owned the Ajaha trademark since before 1912) continued to offer Italian cymbals as a second line until 1979. Ajaha is on the UFIP stencil brand list, although not all Ajaha cymbals were necessarily made by members of the UFIP cooperative.

The Z.Fengjian & Cie example you are asking about is probably earlier than the time period covered by my summary. The Z.Fengjian & Cie also is not on the UFIP stencil brand list. We already know that there are some brands which are not on that list but probably should be, and others (possibly Z.Fengjian & Cie) which were not made under the auspices of the UFIP cooperative which is why it doesn't appear on the UFIP list. UFIP and Italian are not 100% synonymous despite what eBay sellers suggest. The picture gets more hazy as you go back before the 1930s.

The Italian cymbals tend to look like the K Zildjian cymbals of the day, as far as I can tell. I say "as far as I can tell" because we don't have reliable production era data for Italian cymbals which are from the early days. So the early ones (like yours) look early in terms of bell shape, hammering, and lathing. They also tend to be more common in smaller diameters (15" and under) and are often thicker. They are the same attributes the K Zildjian cymbals have back then.

Later on (say the 40s) there were Italian cymbals which looked more like the K Zildjian cymbal of the day. I wouldn't call the Italian cymbals "clones" or "fakes" because I reserve those terms for other use. In my usage Clones are attempts to recreate specific cymbals which are done with full disclosure. Fakes I use for the more recent cymbals which have fake trademarks applied to them so they look like K Zildjian Istanbul cymbals from the 1940s - 1970s.

I like the Drumaholic term "ersatz K" for these non K Zildjian cymbals where the makers have gone to the effort of putting on trademarks or ink which is suggestive of Turkish origin. Note that there are also some Turkish made cymbals which aren't K Zildjian in origin as well. We're used to that now what with lots of brands of cymbals which are made in Turkey. But there are a few examples from long ago.
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Last edited by zenstat; 11-21-2019 at 03:04 PM. Reason: vdf viewer for pdf filetype is troublesome
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