What’s the oldest business in the world?

Inquiring minds


Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here is one of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.


Q. I’ve heard that the oldest business in the world is a cymbal maker. Is that true?


Avedis Zildjian Company may not be the oldest business in the world, but it’s undoubtedly the longest-running manufacturer of loud percussion instruments. The company was founded in the 17th Century, in Constantinople (now modern-day Istanbul), by an Armenian alchemist named Avedis Zildjian. As was the professional habit of alchemists in those days, Zildjian was looking for a way to turn ordinary metal into gold. He never achieved his goal, but in 1618, he created a compound of tin, copper and silver that could make big sounds when struck, without shattering. The Ottoman military music “sound” was soon the envy of marching bands all over Europe. In 1929, Avedis Zildjian III relocated the company to America, where it continues to flourish in Norwell, Massachusetts, placing its products in bands and orchestras around the world.   

(Website of the  Zildjian Company, www.zildjian.com/information/about-zildjian.)

(Library resources.)

Library? You can call them at 651-724-6001 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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