Last night I got to go see The Killers at George Mason University's Patriot Center. My friend Caroline asked me to go at the last minute and the concert greatly exceeded my expectations. The Killers are a great band, obviously, but the show was also quite the production. Lasers! Fireworks!
And I was sure I would be the oldest person there, but turned out I wasn't by a long shot. In addition to the 20-somethings, there were grandparents and children. And everyone seemed to be having a blast, which was a nice experience after last week.
Anyway, speaking of old, my whole point in mentioning this is that I caught the drumstick at the end of the show. I should probably not be as excited about this as I am, but there you go. I got home and proudly showed off my prize to my husband and we began discussing the maker of the drum stick -- Zildjian.
Did you know that it's one of the oldest companies in the world? Apparently only about 5,000 companies in the whole world are more than 200 years old. And yes, a good chunk of those are wineries and breweries, as should be the case.
The oldest, until it was bought out just a few years ago, was Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. (株式会社金剛組 Kabushiki Gaisha Kongō Gumi), a Japanese construction company It operated for more than 1,400 years and had a 10-foot 17th-century scroll that traced the ownership back through 40 generations.
Back to Zildjian:
The first Zildjian cymbals were created in 1618 by Avedis Zildjian, an alchemist who was looking for a way to turn base metal into gold; he created an alloy combining tin, copper, and silver into a sheet of metal that could make musical sounds without shattering. Avedis was given the name of Zildjian (Zilciyân) by the Sultan Osman II (from the Turkish wordzil – cymbal,dji – maker-seller,ian – a common suffix used in Armenian last names which means 'son of') and began an industry in 1623, the details of whose main product remained secret for generations. It became family tradition that only the company's heirs would know the manufacturing process.
The Zildjian Company moved from manufacturing noisemakers that frighten the enemies of the Ottoman Empire to manufacturing its cymbals as musical instruments in the 19th century.
They moved to the United States in the earlier part of the 20th century and they say they're the oldest company operating from the United States.
Isn't that cool?