Avedis Zildjian Co.
Founded in 1623
Norwell, Mass.
Cymbal makers
Today run by 14th-generation descendant Craigie Zildjian, the firm's first female CEO.
Employees: 174
Sales: Approximately $50 million

Nearly 400 years ago, company patriarch (and founder) Avedis, an alchemist living in Constantinople, accidentally discovered that his alloy of copper, tin, and silver produced not gold but rather a mix of base metals with unique sound qualities. He used it to craft cymbals that quickly earned a reputation for their unsurpassed musical clarity and durability, As a result, Sultan Osman II gave Avedis the name "Zildjian," which means "family of cymbal smiths."

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