So I think Zildjian wants to promote the fact that they've been using serial numbers (boring) for almost 20 years now.
Life is so much better w/o serial number, in my opinion.
Only since they started serial #s recently, could you tell age. There is no real incentive (other than good public relations) for them to be able to tell you anything about a product that they produced 50 years ago.
The first A Zildjian cymbals tend to be very small (8″ to 12″) and paper thin. Though they mainly produced splash cymbals, a few china-type early zildjians are known to exist. The first stamp is the only one to include the cymbalsmith’s signature under the bell.
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Their name is synonymous with the cymbals that can be found on almost every drum set you come across.
I spoke with a gentleman at the Zildjian factory the other day, who has been there for a very long time. He told me that stamps are not an indication of age. If he's been there 30 years that means he started in the 1980's which means he probably doesn't really know much about things that happened in the 1940's, 50's, 60's or even 70's.
Different stamps were used interchangeably throughout the years, some just to keep trademarks alive and that sometimes, different stamping machines might have 3 or 4 different stamps going at once, in the interest of production. Most music companies seem to have little regard for their past history (as far as keeping track of minor production details) beyond advertising angles ("since 1623" or "Drum Makers since 1883") as their whole focus is on selling new products right now and in the future.