A gallery of the Avedis Trademark and Ink Logo eras

Scroll down through this gallery and you move through the production eras of Avedis Zildjian cymbals from the beginning to the current day. The first part of this time is mostly about changes in the trademark stamps, but once you get past 1978 you will see more about the ink logos and how they changed over time. You now have a time machine at your fingertips. Enjoy the journey.

I am not responsible for any of the pre 1970s dates, I'm just compiling information painstakingly researched by Bill Hartrick and now in circulation around the web, most often with no acknowledgement of the original source. Once you get into the late 1970s (and ink becomes more of the focus) I've tried to find consensus dates for these changes. Many thanks to all those who are (like me) passionate about cymbals and trying to piece together the history of these alluring metal disks. The information really comes from all the people who have contributed to discussions over the years. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Want to send somebody a link to a particular photo and description?

This site is set up so that you can send (or post to a forum) a link to a particular photo and description. How you do it isn't obvious. What you do is go to the Year by Year Timeline and click on the link to the picture you want. That will move your browser window into the gallery and place in on that entry. If you look up in your browser in the place where you type in a URL (link) you will see that the link ends with a # followed by some word. For example, it might be a link to the Hollow Ink Logo on the bottom of a cymbal. The link will end in #HollowInkZ and if you copy this link and then paste it into an email or into a forum post it will be a direct link to that entry. Note that to put a link into a forum post you must use whatever mechanism the forum has for inserting a link. But whatever you have to do, there will be a paste in there somewhere. Try it out now by clicking on this direct link to the Hollow Ink Logo entry

A little anatomy of stamps

In order to identify the era of a trademark stamp you must look closely. The general anatomy of the stamp is that there is an upper section which is stylized Ottoman text (often referred to as Arabic, or "the squiggly bits"), and a lower section in English. According to Jeansonne, "The Turkish writing at the top of the trademark reads Son of Cymbalsmith", but in their trademark application (registration number 3285622) Avedis Zildjian themselves say:
The non-Latin character(s) in the mark transliterate into "a fi des Zilgian Sha re kat", and this means "Avedis Zildjian Company" in English.

I'm getting half way or more decoding it as Avedis Zildjian (in RL script, two lines). This image overlays the letters I've identified so far. I'll update if I get further.

Image: Ottoman decode


Note that RobScott gives an example in Arabic and also reports that the upper portion says Avedis Zildjian, although he doesn't decode this one letter at a time. My reason for doing this one letter at a time is that I can refer to them by saying "the E of avEdis in the Ottoman section" and you should know I'm talking about that character which looks like O in this rendition. Or the ; which is the Z of Zildjian.

The other thing to notice is that this is a calligraphic device not strict linear text, and that is part of it being a design which pleases the eye. So some letters are stretched and not a straightforward representation. If you think that is far fetched, then consider a purely English calligraphic device:

Image: Premier Logo

Premier Logo

Try to imagine decoding that if you aren't familiar with the English alphabet. Knowing that we are looking at Ottoman also gives us a bit of an insight into what the dots are about which appear over some letters (but not in all versions of all die stamps). Their use in Ottoman is to change the pronunciation of that letter slightly.

Under the Ottoman section is the English portion which says

Turkish Cymbals
Made in U.S.A.

The English portion changes in detail over time, but some changes can be subtle changes of alignment and relative location. For example, one 80s version has CO rather than Co for company. Note also that some stamps do not have Made in U.S.A. (thought to be because they were cast and rolled in the USA then finished in Canada thus they are of mixed origin). And there are also some stamps which say Made in Canada. But those changes are later in the series (1970s onwards).

Most of the earlier changes have to do with the changes in alignment and location. These will be introduced as we move through the specific stamps. Another thing to note is that in the English portion there are another three dots...the ones between U S and A. But when we talk about "the three dots" it is the ones in a triangle in the Ottoman section (upper portion) of the stamp.

Image: 1960s stamp three dots circled

goldilocks and the three dots

The upper portion of the stamp goes through different changes over the years. Much discussion has centered on the presence/absence of "the three dots", as the way to tell a 50s cymbal from a 70s cymbal. These are the three dots in question.

But the presence/absence of the three dots doesn't provide the oft claimed distinction. As we shall see there are other 50s stamps with the three dots, which complicates any simple attempt to count presence/absence of the three dots as the only thing you need to know. Stamps with the three dots include: 2 forms of the mid 50s Large Stamp, the 1954 Stamp, the 60s stamps, and the CO stamp (80s). Don't panic, we'll go through these all in turn. Fortunately, there are other subtle changes which happen in the Ottoman portion and the English portion which can be an aid to establishing manufacturing era.

Introducing Ink and Mentioning Models

Many people seem to think that Avedis Zildjian didn't put ink on their cymbals until the mid 1970s. It is true they didn't put ink saying Zildjian on their cymbals until the mid 1970s. But they did have model and weight ink designations. It's just that most older cymbals have had the ink removed by cleaning. But ink stamps giving model and or weight appear to have been an Avedis Zildjian innovation which was around from the beginning.

Image: Pre Trans Stamp (1930s) Ink


Here is a PAPER THIN cymbal with with a 1930s die stamp on it. If you are trying to find the age of a cymbal and it has model ink like this in ALL CAPITALS, don't presume it has to be from the mid 1970s or later. There are a few different lettering styles used in the different decades, but ink has been around for a long time. As we work through the decades, the current ink styles will also be shown.

Ink stamps (model/weight class) I've seen on older (50s or earlier) cymbals:

EX. THIN (on a pre trans 11" and a 26" Large Stamp so it isn't lack of space for EXTRA in full)
BEBOP (the 1948 catalog has these) sometimes just BOP (seen on a Large Stamp)
PING (50s HB)

Absent from the early days (so far) is a special ink designation CRASH. It seems these came in the late 1940s to early 1950s. But I haven't seen a picture of an ink CRASH in on a 50s or 40s cymbal yet. If you have one, please get in touch. I'd love to add it to my list and know which die stamp it has. Read what the Zildjian Sound Lab had to say about crash cymbals here for example:

Zildjian White Paper No. 1 CRASH CYMBLAS

Pre Trans stamps (1929 till the later 1940s)

The Pre Trans stamps are the earliest of the Avedis Zildjian trademark stamps. We met one just before in our short diversion into Ink. The earlier stamp is characterized by a "chunky" or "thick line" appearance in the Ottoman section, and it and has three dashes under it. This is Exhibit H in Bill's original article.

Image: Chunky Ottoman Example (aka First)


This is distinct from the "thin" or "fine line" version of the Ottoman, which has three dots where the other one has three dashes. This is Exhibit F in Bill's original article.

Image: Thin Ottoman Example (aka Second)


Don't mix up the Pre Trans Stamp Thin Ottoman example having "three dots" at the bottom, with the general discussion of "the three dots" which are in a triangle and not a line. All later Avedis Zildjian stamps have dot dot dash dash at the bottom of the Ottoman section, so this is one way to tell you are looking at a Pre Trans Stamp cymbal.

Image: 1970s stamp showing dot dot dash dash


Bill's original article illustrated two Pre Trans Stamps and gave a likely order of Exhibit H being older and Exhibit F more recent. But the article did not give these names. Since that time the name "First Stamp" caught on for all Pre Trans Stamps, and then "Second Stamp" started to be applied to Exhibit F, following a suggestion from Bill Maley on DFO.

When last I heard Bill Hartrick had identified 4 sub types of pre Trans Stamps and doesn't like the use of "First Stamp". But I don't believe Bill has ever published his 4 sub types with the official names and type specimens (the photos and identifying features) which would establish them. Since I started looking more closely I've identified more than 5 variations of these Pre Trans stamps, and what I've found overturns the whole simple notion of "First" versus "Second". If you want your life to be simple, then stay with "First" and "Second", or better yet just call them "Pre Trans Stamps". But if you want to know more about what is really going on click here.

There is more ink on the Pre Trans Stamp cymbals which can disappear with cleaning...a signature.

Image: First Stamp Writing

first stamp signature

These early cymbals sometimes have writing still present under the bell. Yes, this is like Turkish made K Zildjian cymbals. I can't read it myself, but some people say it is a signature. (decode coming). And on a more modern note, somebody has put the weight of 450 grams on this one. It is a 13" cymbal by the way. Most older Pre Trans Stamp cymbals seem to be smaller diameters. Larger diameters become more common from Exhibit F Stamps onwards (as far as we can tell from limited data).

For examples of hammering on these early cymbals go to the hammering page.

Zenjian (for Leedy) 1930s

Image: Zenjian stamp

zenjian stamp

Zenjians were made for Leedy to sell with their kits (The Cymbal Book p150). Zenjians look like the Avedis production cymbals of that period. After the war there was a time when Italian manufacturers were making a Zinjian for Leedy and there is sometimes confusion between the two (including the spellings Zi and Ze wandering back and forth when people write about it). Here is a second version (thanks to Cliff DeArment for spotting it) which also has Ludwig included on it.

Image: Zenjian-Ludwig stamp

zenjian stamp

Alejian (for Slingerland) 1940s

Image: Alejian stamp

alejian stamp

Alejians were made for Slingerland to sell with their kits (The Cymbal Book p150). The Alejian is quite small, only about 1/8" in height (3 mm). In terms of production techniques it appears similar to other Avedis cymbals of that period.

Zilco (for Ludwig and Premier) 1940-late 50s

Image: Zilco Constantinople USA stamp

zilco stamp

Zilcos were made for Ludwig and Premier to sell with their kits (The Cymbal Book p150). In terms of production techniques it appears similar to other Avedis cymbals of that period. In 1968 when Avedis Zildjian opened a Canadian facility, the name Zilco was re-introduced as Zilco by AZCO

A different stamp appears in the Ludwig (WFL) catalog for 1949

Image: Zilco TRADE MARK stamp in 1949 WFL Catalog


and appears on this cymbal:

Image: Zilco TRADE MARK stamp

zilco stamp

Image: Zilco Showing Top Hammering


Image: Zilco Showing Bottom Hammering


The above Zilco shows the similarity of the hammering style to either the pre Trans stamps (above) or the Trans stamps (next entry). See the Hammering Page for examples.

We are still working to find out whether the difference between these two stamps might represent manufacturing era, different markets, or different drum companies.

Transitional Stamps (1946 to 1953)

Image: Trans stamp showing common features

trans stamp

The height of the Trans Stamps vary. There are four subtypes, and 3 of these are 1 1/8" (28 mm), and I've got photos of one (Type II) being measured which is 1 3/16" (30 mm).

Often the most obvious distinguishing feature is that the edges of the die stamp are pressed in more firmly and this shows particularly in the deeper Z of Zildjian and o of Co. In the above example the semicolon ; looking character in the Ottoman section (which ironically is also the Z of Zildjian reading Right to Left) is also pressed in deeply.

But beware, not all Trans Stamps have the ; and/or the Z and o pressed deeply in such a pronounced fashion. It depends on how the die stamp was pressed in on each individual cymbal. Fortunately there are two other ways to recognize Trans Stamps.

Another characteristic of Trans Stamps is that the T of TURKISH and the S of CYMBALS is very close to the line containing ZILDJIAN Co. The earlier (pre Trans) stamps share this trait, versus the mid 50s and later stamps where there is more vertical space between the T of TURKISH and the S of CYMBALS versus the line containing ZILDJIAN Co. A good way to test this while looking at a stamp (or picture of one) is to imagine sliding the GENUINE along to the right and see if it can pass between the T of TURKISH and the S of CYMBALS. In Trans Stamps and pre Trans Stamps it can't fit. In later ones it can (with the exception of the 1970s Canadian Avedis Stamps including the no Country of origin version.

Another characteristic of Trans Stamps which distinguishes them from later stamps is that they say U S A (no dots) rather than U.S.A. The next time Zildjian used a no dots U S A stamp isn't until the 1980s CO stamp. So provided that bottom line is well struck this is easy to check.

There are no three dots in any Trans stamps.

As best I can determine, Bill Hartrick distinguished 4 sub types of Trans stamps. But I don't believe Bill has a publication available with 4 sub types with the official names and type specimens (the photos and identifying features) which would establish them. Since I've been looking closely I've identified 5 sub type. Because of the detail involved (which most of you might not want go get into) there is a separate page on the Trans Stamp Sub Types where the details are shown. The fifth one is so recent it isn't explicitly named on that page.

If you think you have a Trans Stamp (it passes the no three dots test, the no dots in U S A test, and it doesn't have enough room to move GENUINE out) then you should find it here where the sub types are shown.

Some (but not all) Trans Stamps show very obvious hammer blows on both the top and the bottom. The pre Trans Stamps also show very obvious hammer blows. For examples of Trans Stamp hammering, go to the hammering page.

1954 Stamp

Image: 1954 Stamp


It appears that the 1954 stamp is relatively uncommon. This means that if you have come to this section because you believe you have a 1954 stamp cymbal, you may well be in for disappointment.

The 1954 Stamp(s) looks like the 1960s stamp (has the vertical alignment, has the bold ZILDJIAN Co, has the three dots). Also for the first time, this stamp has dots in U.S.A. which makes a change from earlier stamps. The "1954" stamp is the same height as the 1960s stamp: around 1 3/16" (31 mm). In the past different measurers have reported 1 3/16" (30 mm) or 1.25" (32 mm) but I've now traced those differences back to measurement or rounding error. The problem seems to be that the actual height is closer to 1 7/32" (31mm).

At present, the only reliable diagnosis of a "1954 stamp" does not come from the stamp itself. The only reliable diagnosis comes from the look of the hammering on the cymbal. If you don't see the hammering you would think you had a much more common 1960s stamp cymbal. All cymbals which deserve to be called "1954" show strong evidence of hand hammering both on the top and bottom, which looks like what is usually seen on Trans Stamps. We are working on a way to identify these cymbals just using the die stamp itself, but haven't yet found attributes or quirks which give good discrimination between the 1954 stamps and the 1960s stamps themselves. But it is easy to tell the cymbals apart by the hammering.

Image: 1954 Stamp Details

1954 stamp details

This one looks like a 1960s stamp. What identifies this as a true 1954 cymbal is the hammering top and bottom.

Image: 1954 Top Hammering

1954 stamp

Image: 1954 Bottom Hammering

1954 stamp

This hammering looks more like Trans Stamp hammering and pre Trans Stamp cymbals. In general, how visible the hammering is depends on photograph quality and "dramatic" lighting, and how much dirt or patina there is. But you can still see the hammer marks on both sides if you look closely in most cases. If you can hold such a cymbal in your hands and turn it to and fro in the light, the hammering is easy to pick.

Image: 17" Heavily Hammered Cymbal Stamp


This is the stamp on this immaculate cymbal which belongs to JPTrickster. Once again, the stamp looks like a 1960s stamp. But check out the hammering:

Image: 17" Heavily Hammered Top Side


It is extensively hammered on the top and bottom.

Image: 17" Heavily Hammered Bottom Side


This hammering certainly doesn't look like the familiar 1960s cymbal hammering with its more regular concentric ring pattern (and often quite light hammering with a small hammer face). The hammering fits more comfortably within the Trans Stamp style, and looks quite similar to the hammering of the 22" cymbal shown above. For more examples of hammering on these 1954 cymbals go to the hammering page.

The suggested rarity of cymbals with the "1954" stamp, might be because that stamp was not in use very long before the die was replaced by the Large Stamp dies. It might also be because they are just thought to be 1960s cymbals given they have a stamp with the 3 dots and people haven't looked closely enough. We just don't know.

One explanation of how these cymbals with Trans Stamp like hammering and 1960s looking stamps came about is that they were produced in the mid 1950s but not stamped and shipped out until the early 1960s. There have always been stories about cymbals made in the mid 1950s and not stamped until 6 years later. Once cymbals were produced they were put into the vault to rest. They stayed there until they were selected to fill an order. Only at order filling time was the die stamp pressed in.

Another possibility of course is that the same die was used in the mid 1950s and the early 1960s. For some reason these dies were then put away for some years (during the Large Stamps and late 50s Small Stamp eras) but used again in the 1960s. The pattern we see in the data would be the same.

Alas I have no evidence for or against this stamp being from the precise year 1954. I only call it that because Bill Hartrick did, although neither the 1954 stamp nor the name appear in his original article. I also have no evidence that this die stamp was used for just one year (or a short time). One year is below the resolution one can get to using dating methods (separate page coming on dating methodology -- although you can read what Bill had to say about uncertainty in his original article). The duration of the 1954 stamp is unknown.

So the "1954 stamp" is at present not so much a unique die stamp, but a cymbal having a 1960s stamp. plus a constellation of features (such as hammering and other production methods) which place these cymbals just after the Trans Stamps and before the Large Stamps. Research is ongoing.

Large Stamps (mid 1950s)

Image: Large stamp (Hollow Block)


The Hollow Block shown above (nicknamed HB or Block Stamp, formal name Large Stamp Type I) it the easiest to spot. This is because you don't need to know the height of the stamp to spot one. It is distinctive because of the distinctive hollow font ZILDJIAN used exclusively in this stamp. Occasionally you may come across a 1960s stamp which looks as if it also has the hollow ZILDJIAN lettering. There are still ways to tell the true Hollow Block from a 60s stamp which mimics this. Compare the image above to this 1960s stamp pretending to be a hollow block:

Image: 1960s pseudo HB


Another thing of note is that 90% of the Hollow Block (LS1) Stamps I've recorded, the top portion of the Ottoman missing. This is similar to the SSA vs SSB distinction in the later 50s.

There are also two other types of Large Stamp, with and without the three dots. These other two types lack the distinctive hollow font ZILDJIAN used in the HB die stamp. The distinguishing feature of all the Large Stamps is that they are 1 7/8" (47mm) or greater in height. The exact height doesn't really matter because they are significantly larger than the next largest stamp (late 60s three dot stamp at 1 1/2" or 38 mm). I've measured my two Large Stamp 3 dots examples and they come out at about 1 7/8" (47mm).

If you haven't got a way to know the size, there are still a set of features which allow you to distinguish Large Stamps from either the late 50s small stamp (without 3 dots) or or the 70s stamp (without the 3 dots), or the 1960s stamp(s) with 3 dots. First here are examples of each with a ruler.

Image: Large stamp without the 3 dots

large no 3 dots

This above stamp, shown with ruler, does not have the three dots. It is formally called a Large Stamp Type III. The top of the Ottoman is missing on all examples of this stamp I've seen so far.

Image: Large stamp with the 3 dots

large with 3 dots

This one, shown with ruler, has the three dots. It is formally called a Large Stamp Type II, and was not pictured (but formally named) in Bill's original article. The top of the Ottoman is present on all examples of this stamp I've seen so far.

So how do you spot a Large Stamp like these three dots or no three dots given just a picture of the stamp on its own (no scale)?

In order to distinguish the three dots Large from the 1960s stamp notice which portions of the stamp seem relatively bold and which are in finer lines. In the 1960s stamp the ZILDJIAN Co is bold relative to the rest of the English and the Ottoman. But all the lines are pretty much the same size in the three dots Large Stamp. In addition, there is a check which distinguishes the 1960s stamps from the Large Stamp with the three dots based on the vertical alignment of the AN of Zildjian and the NE of Genuine.

Image: Width test for Large stamp with the 3 dots vs 60s

images/LS2-alignment.png images/60s-short-alignment.png images/60s-tall-alignment.png

In the 60s Stamps the left side of the N of Zildjian is right above the left side of the E of Genuine. In the large Stamp there is a small gap before the E of Genuine. Big thanks to Biggles of Cymbalholic who very kindly shared it with me. You need a decent photo in order to see the difference but I've found that once I got my eye trained up (using my reference collection) I can use it reliably. It does get tricky when photos of trademark stamps are taken are very extreme angles.

In order to distinguish the no three dots Large from the no dots 1970s stamp use the the vertical alignment criterion. In the 1970s die stamp the MADE IN U.S.A. is more spread out than in many other die stamps. As a result, the alignment of the MADE IN U.S.A relative to the curved TURKISH CYMBALS is different. We've seen alignment differences like this before in the details of the Trans Stamps. In the 1970s stamp the E of madE is distinctly to the left of the H of turkisH. In the Large Stamp without the three dots the E is directly under the H.

In order to distinguish the no three dots Large from the no dots Late 50s Small Stamps, use the details of which parts are bold versus finer lines. Both the no three dots Large and the no dots late 50s have the same vertical alignment, so at present you have to rely on just the bold differences. In the Late 50s Small Stamp both the Ottoman section and the ZILDJIAN Co are in bold relative to the rest of the English. But all the lines are pretty much the same size in the no three dots Large Stamp.

Another feature which seems specific to the Large Stamps is the shape of the top of the bell. At least in 20" and 22" cymbals this seems to hold. In cymbals smaller than 18" it may not hold, but there is a distinct lack of evidence on that. There are two 18" HBs in my reference collection. One shows the flat top bell for sure, in the other case the photo doesn't make it clear. And I've seen only 1 or 2 pairs of HB hats. The Large Stamps seem to be very rare on small diameter cymbals, probably because of mechanical problems. We suspect it isn't easy (or safe) to put such a large (> 1.75") stamp on the bow of a small cymbal without cracking.

But back to bells where you can tell visually.

Image: Large stamp (showing the flat center of the bell)

Hollow Block Flat Bell

Above you can see the flat portion of the bell. It can extend out about an inch from the mounting hole. After that flat area the bell slopes away as usual.

Image: Large stamps (another flat center of the bell)

Hollow Block Flat Bell

And above is a second shot from a slightly different angle. So if a cymbal has a flat bell chances are good it is Large Stamp. But the correlation is not perfect. There are some Large Stamps which don't show the flat bell, and here is one 22" example thanks to Mike Layton. The stamp on this is the 3 dots Large Stamp, and in an overall view of the cymbal a trick of the light or lathing makes it look like the bell will be flat on top:

Image: Large stamp 3 dots from the top

Large Stamp not Flat Bell

And yet when we have a closer look at the bell from the side it is not flat but gently curving.

Image: Large stamp 3 dots (rounded center of the bell)

Large Stamp not Flat Bell closeup

I don't know why there is variation in this yet. Research is ongoing.

For examples of hammering on these mid 1950s Large Stamp cymbals go to the hammering page.

Small Stamp (late 1950s) two subtypes

Image: Late 50s Small Stamps

50s small stamp

The Small Stamps are much smaller than the Large Stamps. Hence the name. They are about 1 1/4" in height. But beware, despite the name Small Stamp they aren't the smallest ones. The next stamp (1960s) is slightly smaller. There are NO three dots on the small stamp.

The red and green arrows on this picture point out two features of this stamp. The green arrows point to two elements of the stamp which are in bold relative to the rest. These are the ZILDJIAN Co and the Ottoman portion. The bolding of these elements changes slightly in the 1960s (when it is only the Zildjian Co), and again in the 1970s when it disappears altogether).

The red arrows point out the vertical alignment of the H over the E. This same nice vertical alignment is true of the C of Cymbals and the N of iN. Once again this will change in the 1970s and is a second way to tell the 1970s stamp from the 1950s small stamp. We'll come back to that in a decade or so.

According to observations made by Cliff DeArment (thank you Cliff) there turn out to be two distinct types of Small Stamps, which he calls SSA and SSB. That's SS for Small Stamp which is a good shortcut when you get tired of typing out Small Stamp over and over. The A form has the top portion of the Ottoman section missing, in the B form it is all there. At first I couldn't be sure that this wasn't just a stamping flaw, but Cliff discovered that the two forms also have a different width for the ZILDJIAN Co portion of the stamp. Here they are:

Image: SSA Stamp        Image: SSB Stamp
images/SSA.jpg        images/SSB.jpg

On present evidence, the missing portion of the SSA is sufficient to identify it, so you don't need to ask a seller to get out his calipers and measure the width of ZILDJIAN Co to tell them apart. But if you do need to and you want metric measurements, the SSA is about 22mm (7/8") and the SSB is about 24mm (15/16") in width.

We're still investigating whether the two different stamp dies were used in different years, or whether they overlap in time. It is possible that the SSA is earlier than the SSB. Some of the evidence for that comes from mounting hole diameter where there seem to be a mixture of hole sizes in SSAs, but only modern (1/2") diameter holes in SSBs. We're still gathering evidence. But given what we know about the use of 3 stamping machines (and thus 3 different dies of the same basic stamp) plus the time lags between being manufactured and being stamped, it still isn't clear whether there is chronology information to be gained from SSA and SSB. Research is ongoing.

For examples of hammering on these Small Stamp cymbals go to the hammering page.

1960s stamps (1960s)

Image: 60s Stamp

60s stamp

The height of the early 60s stamp is a little over 1 3/16" (31 mm) and it has the three dots. In the past different measurers have reported 1 3/16" (30 mm) or 1.25" (32 mm) but I've now traced those differences back to measurement or rounding error. So current best estimate is around 1 7/32" (31 mm). Unfortunately Bill Hartrick's original height of 1 3/16" is very firmly established on the web and in the literature so you will still see that measurement used most often.

In the later 1960s there is a similar looking stamp which is about 1 1/2" tall according to Bill Hartrick's original article.

tall stamp yr

I'm hoping to refine what "later 60's" means and whether the shorter and taller stamps might have been used at the same time. But that currently seems as elusive as distinguishing the 1954 stamps and the 1960s stamps without considering the hammering.

The 60s stamps have a bold ZILDJIAN Co and this is shared with the late 1950s small stamp. But when you compare the 60s stamps to the late 1950s small stamp, in the 1950s the Ottoman portion also appears bold. But in the 1960s it is only the bold ZILDJIAN Co and not the bold Ottoman. This is a subtle difference and how clearly it appears depends on how well the die stamp is pressed in. Of course, it is easier just to use the presence of the three dots to tell.

The top red line in the photo above shows the top of the stamp. You will see the line touches the top of the stamp in 3 places. Any of those 3 places may be used as the top to measure from. The bottom of the stamp is the red line just under MADE IN U.S.A The height of the stamp is measured vertically between the two red lines. The take home point here is that in order to get the height of a stamp accurate enough for research purposes you need to be able to measure to the nearest 1/32 of an inch (or 1 mm). Fortunately you don't need to measure the height that accurately just to tell different stamps apart.

Below is a picture of the stamp being measured with the ruler in place. All the key attributes are there to be seen. I have noted 4 spots where there are breaks in the way this particular stamp is pressed in. These aren't found in all cases, but they are common enough to be worth mentioning. I haven't yet been able to determine if they represent an occasional pressing flaw, low spots on that particular die, that particular die starting to wear out, or something else.

Image: 1 3/16" 60s Stamp being measured

60s small stamp

Another thing to mention with this photo is that the bold ZILDJIAN Co can almost look like the Large Stamp Hollow Block stamp from the mid 1950s. It seems that in some examples the bold ZILDJIAN Co is lightly pressed in and the ZILDJIAN Co can look like it is in a hollow or outline font as a result. I've seen a dozen people misidentify a 60s stamp as a Hollow Block because they aren't looking closely enough. If you do a direct comparison of the two they are different: the true outline font has a relatively larger hollow space in the middle. The 60s bold ZILDJIAN Co has the middle of the lettering pressed in slightly so fine lathe lines don't appear inside the letters. The true outline font of the Large Stamp Hollow Block is much cleaner and the surface of the cymbal isn't pressed in at all in the hollow portion of the lettering. The ends of the letters are also sharper and more square. Plus there is a difference in the positioning of the AVEDIS relative to the dot dot dash dash and the ZILDJIAN. These are all illustrated in a photo of one of these 1960s pseudo Hollow Block versus the real Hollow Block Finally, if the stamp stumps you, there are other production clues on cymbals like late 50s visible hammering and lathing and the treatment of bells which let you tell a mid 1950s cymbal from a 1960s cymbal. For examples of hammering on these 1960s cymbals go to the hammering page.

Image: 1 1/2" 60s Stamp being measured

60s tall stamp

Above is the 1 1/2" tall version being measured for comparison. This is sometimes called a "Tall Stamp". But don't confuse Tall Stamp (60s) with Large Stamp (mid 1950s). Very different production eras. The 1 3/16" (31 mm) and the 1 1/2" (38 mm) versions of the 1960s stamp are reputed to look the same. They are, but what lets us tell them apart without measuring is the pattern of breaks or quirks.

The 1.5" version of the stamp tends to have the quirks shown in this picture, although again they are not always present. But when they are present, the flaws are in the D and I (which can sometimes look like an i), sometimes the left side of the V, and occasionally the left side of the top of the A. This list is different from the short stamp which has the flaws at the top of the Ottoman, AED (but not I), and the upper portion of the comma. The other thing to note is that in the 1 3/16" short stamp the flaw which can occur just by itself is the slight missing part at the top of the E. If you go bak to the very first photo in the 1960s section that's the only flaw present in that particular pressing.

I have one cymbal with this 1.5" stamp which also suffers from the same issue of the bold ZILDJIAN Co looking like a Large Stamp Hollow Block. However, the whole stamp is very lightly pressed in so that much of the detail is missing. It seems as if both the short (1 3/16") and tall (1.5") stamps can be pressed in such that the ZILDJIAN Co looks like a Large Stamp Hollow Block.

What I do to facilitate measuring is place a pice of masking tape just above the top of the stamp, and another just below the bottom (the MADE IN U.S.A). That makes it easier to measure the distance accurately. I move the tape as required to get it in just the right place. With a strong stamp you may not need to do this. But with a faint stamp it can help a lot. Here it is in action reporting 30.96 mm, or 31mm to the nearest mm. This is why I'm picking the height of 1 7/32" is closer to the actual height.

Image: 1960s stamp 1 3/16" or 31mm

60s medium stamp

Zilco by AZCO Made in Canada (1968-70,76-79)

Image: Zilco by AZCO Canada stamp

zilco by azco stamp

The name Zilco was reintroduced in 1968 when Avedis Zildjian opened a Canadian factory, the AZCO plant (which is now the home of Sabian). The original use of the name Zilco was much earlier (1930s) when Zilco was a USA made second line for Ludwig and Premier to sell. This time around the cymbals are called Zilco by AZCO and include the word Canada.

According to The Cymbal Book (p150) there were two sorts of Zilco by AZCO cymbal types. One was produced in the same way as the Avedis cymbals of the day. The other was a thinner unhammered cymbal. I don't know if the second style was restricted to the 1976-1979 period, or if both cymbal types were present in both periods. I don't yet know if there was any die stamp difference between the two eras or between the two different types of Zilco by AZCO cymbals.

For examples of the sort of hammering to expect on these 70s Zilco by AZCO cymbals see the hammering page.

I've come across two more AZCO stamps which were also used, and there may be more. The first is one used for cymbals to be sold with Rogers drums:

Image: Rogers by AZCO Stamp


The second version just says AZCO CANADA:

Image: AZCO CANADA Stamp


It looks to me like the AZCO is written in the same font later used for the SABIAN ink logo. You can see this particularly in the A (which is the letter they have in common). On stylistic grounds alone one might suggest that this AZCO CANADA stamp is the later one, but I don't have any other evidence for that yet. As to when these stamps were in use, all we really know is that use should have stopped by 1980 when SABIAN split off. So all of these AZCO stamps can be generally referred to as 1970s. Yes they started in 1968, but applying our usual ±2 years, 1970s is a good enough shorthand. Meanwhile back in the USA there were other changes afoot for the 1970s.

1970s stamp (1970s)

Image: 1970s stamp


The height of the 1970s stamp is about 1 3/16" (30 mm) which is the same as the shorter of the 60s stamps. The 1970s stamp doesn't have the three dots. It shares this one very obvious thing with the 1950s small stamp. As a result many people don't seem to be able to tell the 1970s stamp from the 1950s small stamp. However, there are a couple of other differences between the 1950s small stamp and the 1970s stamp which make the difference clear given a decent photo. The 70s stamp is missing both the bold ZILDJIAN Co and the alignment. The ZILDJIAN Co text is taller than the AVEDIS, but the ZILDJIAN Co is not bold compared to the Avedis, and the rest of the English text. The green arrows above relate to the changing bold elements, while the red arrow relates to the lack of vertical alignment. We'll review these again in the next section.

For examples of the sort of hammering to expect on 70s cymbals see the hammering page.

Some people call this 70s stamp a Thin Stamp apparently because the ZILDJIAN Co is not bold (thicker) compared to the AVEDIS (as it is in the 50s and 60s). But you should be aware that this usage is non standard, as are other things on that site. Note also the formatting makes decade sized errors like the heading "BIG STAMP 1955-1963 A.ZILDJIAN" when they mean Large Stamp and these are only from the mid 1950s, and there are three types of Large Stamps but they only seem to know about one of these. I still cringe whenever I see this misleading heading appear in an eBay auction via a copy/paste from that bogus heading. I would say that this site is best avoided unless you really know what you are doing. But if you really know what you are doing, you probably don't need to use it.

Image: 70s stamp with ruler for measuring

70s stamp measured

Above is a 70s stamp being measured out at about 1 3/16" (30 mm). We'll see how it is easy to tell this is a 70s stamp even without measuring in the next section.

Note that in the 1970s we also begin to find this stamp appearing without the MADE IN U.S.A. line, and sometimes with MADE IN CANADA. The MADE IN CANADA variant is the same height as the MADE IN U.S.A. version: 1 3/16" (30 mm).

Image: Avedis Zildjian Made In Canada

made in canada

This looks like a typical 70s stamp which lacks the bold Zildjian Co, does not have the three dots, and has a particular vertical alignment. In addition, this Canadian version has a very Trans Stamp like property: the Turkish Cymbals is very close to the ZILDJIAN Co such that the word Genuine wouldn't fit through the small space between them.

This individual cymbal is also interesting because it carries a small ZILDJIAN ink stamp. I've not seen something like this before, and I wonder if it is to show that this cymbal is to get an AVEDIS ZILDJIAN die stamp rather than a Zilco by AZCO die stamp.

Image: Avedis Zildjian No Country of Origin


Although there isn't any Country of Origin line, this die stamp fits the same set of 1970s attributes the Made In Canada version does. Of particular interest is that the Turkish Cymbals is very close to the ZILDJIAN Co such that the word Genuine wouldn't fit through the small space between them. That Trans Stamp like property again. In addition there are two more quirks or specific attributes which this stamp shares with the MADE IN CANADA version. One is the partially missing bottom of the T of Turkish, and the other is the specific form of the cross bar indicated in the illustration. You can see both of these in the MADE IN CANADA example even though that is a smaller image. The detail of the cross bar distinguishes some stamp eras but I haven't finished dong all my checking yet to present the results more generally. But compare it with the cross bar on the 60s stamp and you should see that in the 60s version the bar is more evenly placed rather than mostly sticking out to the right.

Occasionally the Country of Origin line ("MADE IN") may be missing for some other reason from a different die stamp (poorly stamped in, or lathing grooves make it all but invisible). But this particular no country of origin stamp should still be identifiable because of the three signs: the very close Turkish Cymbals and Zildjian Co, the missing bottom of the T, and the specific cross bar form. Even with a poor stamp picture you can probably determine a particular cymbal it isn't a Trans Stamp on visible hammering because 70s cymbals look very different from Trans Stamp cymbals on hammering.

How to tell a 50s Small Stamp from a 1970s Stamp

There are several features which allow us to tell these apart. Start by returning to the 1950s small stamp, and the red and green annotations. Number 1 is that nice vertical alignment I point to in red. Number 2 is that the ZILDJIAN Co and the Ottoman part of the text is in bold. The AVEDIS is lighter. The rest of the English text is in the same weight as the Avedis.

Compare the 1950s small stamp to the 60s and you see the same vertical alignment and the bold ZILDJIAN Co is also there. The bold of the Ottoman section is present in the late 1950s small stamp and not in the 1960s, but that doesn't matter for telling the 50s from the 70s.

But the 70s stamp is missing both the bold ZILDJIAN Co and the alignment. The ZILDJIAN Co text is taller than the AVEDIS, but the ZILDJIAN Co is not bold compared to the Avedis, and the rest of the English text.

These things are relatively easy to pick up in "eBay/Crasigslist" poor quality pictures. If the pic is so poor you can't tell, then you might fall back to the tried and true "the 70s stamp is often very light or poorly struck".

I didn't discover this alignment thing myself, I heard about it from others. I've tested it against as many examples as I can find, and I'd say it is 99% accurate. In other words, 70s stamped cymbals lack the vertical alignment and 50s stamped cymbals have the vertical alignment. One or two counterexamples have come to light, but these can be due to misidentification of the decade of the cymbal where photos aren't crystal clear, stamps are very poorly pressed in, etc. So I'm very happy to go with it for now.

A second difference between the 1950s small stamp and the 70s stamp is that in the 50s version the AVEDIS is an equal distance from the dot dot dash dash and the ZILDJIAN. In the 70s stamp the AVEDIS is closer to the ZILDJIAN.

Note that I've fallen into the shorthand of calling these "50s" and "70s" stamps as if the decade changes line up exactly with the stamp era changes. This isn't how it really seems to be, but it remains a convenient shorthand. But you should always remember the uncertainty which is inherent in the years associated with all of these stamps. The assignment of years is not my work. I've never seen the sample sizes or the raw data. Thus I have no way to judge the strength of the evidence. I tend to treat all specific year references as "plus or minus a year or two". But rather than complicate things, I don't always write 1950s ±2 in the same way that we speak of "50s" or "60s" even though the stamp change will not have taken place at midnight on the 31st of December 1959.

A Zildjian & Cie Constantinople (1973 to 1987)

In an unusual divergence from the usual trademark layout, Avedis Zildjian came out with a series of brilliant finish cymbals called A Zildjian & Cie Constantinople. This has baffled some people trying to identify them, who believe they might have a K Zildjian in their hands.

Image: A Zildjian & Cie Constantinople


This is an American made cymbal with a brilliant finish. They are usually a bit heavier in weight than a similar A Zildjian cymbal from the same time. And just to make things more fun, you can find brilliant finish Avedis Zildjians as well. The brilliant finish became available as an option on any cymbal from as early as 1971, based on this ad from June 1971. The date of the publication is in the lower left corner. And while we are on the subject of unusual divergences, note that in the ad the brilliant finish is also available on Zilco cymbals. We won't get to them until later on in the piece, although you can go and check out Pinksterboer's The Cymbal Book for more information.

There is a second variant of this stamp which has the MADE IN U S A appears at the bottom rather than wrapped around the star and crescent at the top. The Ottoman portion and the font for the English has changed as well, and these look more like the 1980s CO stamp. These similarities suggest it is later, but I don't know of any specific dates which have been established by something like ads, sales receipts, association with drum kits of known year, etc. This second version is about 1.5" (38mm) tall, which is the same as the tallest of the 1960s stamps ).

Image: A Zildjian & Cie Constantinople Version 2


1977-1980: Hollow Ink Zildjian Logo

Image: Hollow Ink Zildjian Logo

Hollow Ink Zildjian

This is called the Hollow Ink Logo and it appears on the bottom. According to Paul Francis in the NAMM2016 release video these ink logos were in use between 1977 and 1980. From this period on the interest in the die stamps seems to have waned. I know there are variations in the die stamp trademarks, but for the time being we'll shift more to looking at ink. Terminology warning: Hollow Ink Logo is very different to the Hollow Block. Totally different production eras. Not all sellers are knowledgeable (they haven't read this site yet) and it pays to clarify what they mean if no suitable picture is supplied. The majority of cymbals with a Hollow Ink Logo have a 70s stamp although there are also a few examples which have either a 60s stamp or a CO stamp.

1980s: Zildjian CO stamp (1980s)

Image: 1980s CO stamp

Z 80s CO

This height of this stamp is about 1 1/8" (28 mm) making it the same height as 3 of the 4 sorts of Trans Stamps. The obvious distinguishing feature of this stamp is that it has CO. in all caps and with a dot at the end. And it also has the three dots. There are some other distinguishing features which an help if you can only see part of the stamp:

Image: 1980s CO stamp annotated

Z 80s CO annotated

Another distinguishing feature is the font used for the English portion. This is different from the traditional font used, although it seems the same as the font used for the Avedis Zildjian and Cie stamps. In the CO and the Avedis Zildjian and Cie stamps the font seems "cleaner" and "simpler".

This CO stamp is seen on both Hollow Ink Logo cymbals and on Solid Ink Logo cymbals, so that suggests it spans something like 1980 through 1986. The 1986 date comes from somebody who recalls a new purchase. The U.S.A. (with dots) which has been around since at least the mid 1950s is now U S A (no dots) in this stamp. Note that these years remain fairly uncertain, but we know enough to say you can safely call this an 80s stamp. These seem fairly rare which seems at odds with their use over a time period of 5 years or more. But this may turn out to be because hardly anybody has been noticing that they are different. There is a discussion of these here which has informed my summary. The next task seems to find out exactly which logo ink is on each of these examples.

For examples of hammering on 80s cymbals go to the hammering page.

1980s: The one inch 50s Like Stamp

Image: One Inch 1950s Like Stamp

one inch 80s

Also in the 1980s there is a stamp which is about 1" tall (25mm) and looks like the Late 50s Small Stamp. Except it's even smaller. As a quick recap, saying that it looks like the Late 50s Small Stamp means no three dots, and relatively bold ZILDJIAN and Ottoman section, plus the vertical alignment. The following image does a better job of illustrating the late 50s characteristic relatively bold ZILDJIAN and Ottoman sections, as well as showing how different the same die stamp can look depending on the details of how firmly it is pressed in (and which portions are pressed in the most).

Image: One Inch 1950s Stamp Second Example

one inch 80s also

This die stamp is found on Earth Rides (heavy unlathed cymbals)

Image: One Inch 1980s Stamp on Earth Ride

earth ride stamp

which really gives the game away that this is not a Late 50s Small Stamp since Earth Rides only came into retail shops in about 1979. This stamp may also appear on fully lathed cymbals. If the ZILDJIAN ink is left on the cymbal the fact that the stamp was a little smaller than expected might not be noticed. But if all traces of ink have been removed than a cymbal with the 1980s one inch stamp might be mis-identified as a Late 50s Small Stamp. When I have an example of a fully lathed cymbal with this stamp, I'll add it in. And if I find some details which let you distinguish this stamp from others without resorting to measuring the height I'll add that info.

1982: Solid Zildjian on the top and bottom

Image: Solid Script Zildjian

Hollow Ink Zildjian

The Zildjian becomes solid rather than hollow font, and now it is found on both the top and the bottom of the cymbal. Ink at 12 o'clock showing the model and weight information (plus the diameter in inches and cm) appears on the top of the cymbal, and that becomes the standard from here onwards for the A series. But remember that model/weight class ink has been around since the first. It is the new layout with the diameter in inches and cm which is distinctive. Note that New Beat hi hats are a little different in terms of model ink. They also provide a cautionary note that not all ink changes happen precisely in step with die stamp (trademark) changes.

1992: Avedis Joins Zildjian on the top

Image: Solid Script Zildjian plus Avedis

Avedis joins Zildjian ink

At this point Avedis appears just above Zildjian on the top of the cymbal. This is just on the top side of the cymbal. The bottom side just continues with the Zildjian.

1994: Laser Trademarks

If you have a trademark on your cymbal which looks like this:

Image: A Zildjian Laser Trademark

Avedis laser stamp

Image: Avedis K Laser Trademark

Avedis K laser stamp

or this Avedis K version of the same stamp, then you can proceed to the Year by Year section to find out when your cymbal was manufactured. For example, in the Avedis stamp the serial (below the Made in USA) begins JJ so that is 2000. The year is encoded by 1 = A, 2 = B, up to I = 9 and J = 0. The K version shown above is AJ so that is 2010. Thanks to RobScott for the decode. You have to scroll down to comment 15. I can't get his permalinks to work. The laser trademarks look rather scruffy when magnified because the laser is just doing a "good enough" resolution. The image is made from lots of little dots and/or strokes of the laser. Follow this link if you have a laser serial number and want to know the year of manufacture:

go to Laser Years

Until at least the year 2002 (JB) the laser serial number appears at 12 o'clock just like the pre laser trademark stamps did.

Image: IE laser stamp and model ink

Laser ID IE

1996: Cursive A next to the model ink

Image: Cursive A next to the model ink

Cursive A

By 1996 a cursive A appears to the left of the model ink, and the font for the model and weight designation changes slightly. The ink Zildjian logo also gets a registered trademark symbol. The little ® is nestled just in the curve of the tail of the n of Zildjian. You can see this in the 2013 photo, although the ® is just a dot in that photo. The cursive A also has the little ® mark added which you can see above. From here on the ink style stays basically the same until 2013.

The 1996 year for the cursive A is based on the laser serial numbers. So far the earliest year of the cursive A is IF. Laser serials starting ID and IE don't have the cursive A. The IG year does have the cursive A. Of course, knowing that some IF laser serials have the cursive A doesn't tell us that the change happened on 1 January 1996. Similarly, the first five laser years appear at 12 o'clock rather than 3 o'clock, but I'm not sure about II yet.

I'm continuing to collect evidence to try and pin down the year the cursive A was added and the year the laser trademark moved to 12 o'clock. If anybody has any IE, IF cymbals and can tell me if they have the cursive ink style, this might help us pin down the year. Similarly I've now found a JB laser serial which puts the changeover to 3 o'clock to 2002. If somebody has a JC or JD can you tell me if it is at 12 o'clock or 3 o'clock position?

2013: Rework of A series

Image: 2013 Rework of A series

2013 Reworked A Series

A major rework of the A series specs (weights, taper, heigh of bow, models) was undertaken and the ink changes to reflect this. A list of the model changes is here. The ink changed to a much larger cursive A at 12 o'clock with the model ink below, and the Avedis went away from just above the Zildjian at 6 o'clock.

2014: Kerope series

Image: Kerope Top

Kerope Top

Image: Kerope Bottom

Kerope Bot

The Kerope Series was released in 2014, after a few prototypes appeared in mid 2013. The ink on the top is much smaller and the style of the K is reminiscent of the Canadian Ks. The bottom has a solid ink Zildjian and the weight written under the bell. At the release date the series includes 14" and 15" hats, 18", 19", 20" and 22" multi purpose cymbals.

2015: Kerope series extensions

In 2015 the Kerope weight ranges were extended due to requests for slightly heavier cymbals. The 20" added range is 2,126 - 2,381g and the 22" added range is 2,523 - 2,721g. These weight ranges start just above the previous weight ranges. So bigger range of weights and the weights are written under the bell so it is easy to know what is what. Ref: Product Announcement

A 21" K Custom Organic Ride (between 2,267-2,494 grams) and 20" K Con Renaissance (between 1,786-1,871 grams) were also added in 2015. Ref: Product Announcement

go to Avedis by Years

or back to the introduction page

text stabilized 29 May 2016 5:35 PM
text last updated 26 Feb 2017 5:50 PM

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.