(20 comments.)

This is an informational website about cymbals made in Italy during the middle part of the Twentieth Century. I am collecting information, researching, the significance of the different symbols. To the extent that I don’t find them well described in English, I hope to generate language to make them significant. Work remains in developing the calculus of how to tell the Italian cymbals apart.

UFIP (1931-present)

Vintage Italian cymbals were produced by a collective: the “Union of Italian Cymbal Manufacturers” (Italian: Unione Fabbricanti Italiani Piatti). UFIP was formed by 5 Italian cymbal makers in 1931, in Pistoia, Tuscany (Italy). “Est. 1847” refers to the time when Luigi Tronci’s great-grandfather started making church bells.

This stamp is from a cymbal purchased in 1958.

Most old UFIP cymbals were sold through secondary distributors (see below). Some include round “Made in Italy” stamps: engraved stamp | round ink-stamp | square ink-stamp. These most always be traced back, one way or another, to Tuscany.

15″ UFIP hi-hat (800 grams). Very distinctive hammering. The old UFIP cymbals are rotocast, hand-hammered, B20 cymbals.
The Original
Cymbals
UFIP
traditional handicrafts
PISTOIA

Below, you’ll find several “stencil brands” that UFIP produced for drum manufacturers, several of which try to appear Turkish in origin.

Stanople (1930s – 1960s)

Stanoples were not made in Constantinople, Turkey. They were made in Italy, and they were stamped “Made in Italy“. They were distributed by the Leedy Drum Company.

Paiste briefly also produced “Stanople” cymbals from 1957-1960s (see Paiste Stanople stamps: Switzerland | Germany) but these are not connected.

Zenjian (1940s – 1960s)

Yes, these are Italian cymbals. The pseudo-Arabic scribbles at the top are meaningless. While there are stories about the Avedis Zildjian company producing cymbals for Leedy under the brand name “Zenjian” in the 1930s, it is known that the Zenjian stamp at left is associated with cymbals produced by UFIP, for Ludwig and other companies, between the 1940s and the 1960s.
15″ Zenjian hi-hat cymbal, from the 1950s. The wear pattern shows the hand-hammering.

Zanchi F&F (1947-1970s)

The Zanchi brothers were 2 of the original 5 cymbal manufacturers who started UFIP in 1931. In 1947 Fiorello Zanchi started his own operation in Pistoia. The “F & F” stands for Fiorello & Figli (thus it means: “Fiorello Zanchi and Sons”). One of the first line of cymbals produced by Zanchi was called “Vibra”.

20″ Zanchi ride.

In the mid-1970s the company changed the spelling of their brand to “Zanki” (see below).

Pasha (1950s – 1960s)

A Pasha cymbal stamp, reportedly from the 1960s, produced by UFIP. The Cymbal Book says that these were distributed by Trophy Music in Cleveland, Ohio.

I was told this stamp is from the 1960s, which would follow the trend of many other cymbal lines moving toward ink stamping later rather than sooner.

* Today, Pasha cymbals are back on the market! Their website claims they come from a “Turkish” factory! Though this Italian drummers’ website claims Pasha currently has a factory in Abruzzo (200 km southeast of Tuscany, but still in Italy).

Kashian (1960s-1980s)

Kashian cymbals were made by UFIP for Slingerland between the 1960s and the 1980s, from B20 bronze. There were also several “economy” cymbals made by machines and from inexpensive metals.

Kashian
Cymbals
Genuine Eastern
HANDCRAFT
Made in Italy

This stamp is from the Kashian Pro line: B12 (cheap bronze), machined, non-cast. There were also B8s. Kashian 2000 (later renamed Kashian Standard) were made out of brass (that is, garbage).

Zanki (1970s-1992)

The Italian wikipedia page says that Zanchi changed the spelling to Zanki in the 1970s because he was tired of non-Italians misprouncing the name. It also explains that the cymbals were cast traditionally, though for a brief period the company tried rotocasting. These cymbals were reportedly marked “Zanki Rotocasting”.

Tosco (1974 – 1985)

The grandson of one of the UFIP founders, Buiani, started Tosco with GIovanni Spadacini in 1973. According to the Cymbal Book, the first castings were made in 1974, Robert Zildjian bough the Tosco factory in 1979 and used it to produce Sabian B8 cymbals in the 1980s. In any case the Tosco factory was closed in 1986.
Here we have a cymbals distibuted by Ludwig (by Tosco). Tosco produced machine-hammered and hand-hammered cymbals. There are also reportedly “Tosco (by Sabian)” cymbals produced between 1982 and 1985.
Frankly, many of the later UFIP stencil brands were for low quality cymbals. Spizzichino cymbals are, by contrast, the creme de la creme….


Spizzichino (1980-2011)

Roberto Spizzichino made handmade cymbals in Tuscany from 1980 to 2011. He formally left UFIP in 1986. His early cymbals were ink-stamped “Spizz”. He used B20 bronze, both Chinese and Turkish Alloy cymbals are out there, in several distinct cymbal styles. Mainly jazz rides. Roberto Spizzichino died on November 22, 2011. He was 67 years old.
Spizzichino cymbals are in a class of their own. It is worth your while to web research this guy and the information about cymbal production that he left behind.

20 comments

  1. Pretty good info here. FYI, I heard that Tosco is owned by Sabian now and resurfaces in stores like GC here and there. I bought a “cheap” Tosco cymbal for my son’s kit that is apparently a rebranded Sabian AAX.

    John Cantrell, December 20, 2010
  2. Thanks for your research on this. You enabled me to identify the identity of a UFIP cymbal on ebay and score a sweet deal!!! Can you narrow the age/decade of a cymbal with the round ink stamp (http://www.robscott.net/cymbals/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/italy3.jpg)?

    Mark, March 31, 2011
  3. Very happy to have found this site. Even happier to have finally found a reference to my cymbal.

    In the mid 1970s, I bought an “unknown” cymbal at a flea market for a measly $20… suspended on my fingertip and played in a noisy outdoor setting with a ballpoint pen, I thought it sounded very nice. Later, played on my set with the band, I was blown away by what I had picked up for next to nothing at the swap meet.

    Over the years, in admittedly un-scientific listening tests with band mates, this cymbal has consistently beaten other major brands as the preferred cymbal. Among others, it has beaten a 24″ A Zildjian ride, a 20″ A Zildjian ride, a 21″ K Zildjian ride, and a 20″ Paiste ride.

    For the record, it has the square “MADE IN ITALY” stamp on the back side of the cymbal, along with two stamps under the bell of the cymbal…. one says Ajax in a script and the other is a squiggle that looks a bit like a cursive m with a line over it.

    I’ve loved this cymbal for more than 30 years and am thrilled to finally find a reference that suggests something of it’s background.

    If there’s anything I can do to help with this site and the further understanding of vintage instruments, let me know.

    Tom Bernett
    Drummer, vocalist, and entertainer since 1969.
    Adjunct Professor of Jazz Percussion,
    University of North Carolina at Pembroke
    http://www.BernettMusic.com
    http://www.SwingStreetBand.com
    ttbernett@nc.rr.com

    Tom Bernett, January 20, 2012
  4. Sounds like you might have an old Ajaha. Many of them had stamp or ink-written signature such as this. Feel free to send an email with a photo of the stamp if you ever get a chance. Ajahas are basically of mysterious/unknown origins. I could say more, but it would be good to know if that’s what you’ve got. They often have the square “Made in Italy” stamp as well.

    Rob, January 20, 2012
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    20″ Ajaha Ride Cymbal: SOUNDFILE (.mp3)

    Tom Bernett, January 22, 2012
  6. I bought an Ajahas with the same square Made in Italy stamp on it in a pawn shop in San Diego about 12 years ago – LOVE IT! I thought it was a UFIP, but there is only ink identification. It also has the word medium in ink on the top. It is a 21″ ride. Please let me know if you have learned anything more about these. Thanks, Nelson

    Nelson Friedman, April 29, 2012
  7. Here’s are two images from an old Ajaha hi hat pair. The cymbals are stamped with a “G” on the edge of the underside like many old K Zildjians from Istanbul. Those cymbals dated to the 1940s so that suggests this cymbal is quite old.

    The second pair of photos is another pair of hi hats presumably from the same era. It appears that “X ξ Ajaha „ is handwritten on these cymbals.

    There is actually an older signature out there as well. It says “Constantinople” which was the style with many cymbal manufacturers in the early part of the century. If we could find a photo of that stamp, we would have a cause for a new cymbal timeline complete with Old, Intermediate, and New Ajaha stamps. Anyone care to share a photo of the holy grail original Ajaha stamp?

    Rob, May 19, 2012
  8. I was curious if you could help me figure out what I have, it has both the Zenjian 1940s-1960s stamp as well as an Avedis Zildjian Co Made in USA stamp. There is also a very faded signature under the bell.

    Cel Phone Video of the Zenjian Zildjian Mystery

    Jimmy, June 2, 2012
  9. Does anyone know if the triangular UFIP stamp (the picture shown at the top of this page) was ever produced with the circular ‘MADE IN ITALY’ marking stamped 90 degrees to the left?

    AJCH, June 16, 2012
  10. Cymbal stamps are most commonly set at 90° or 180° to each other.

    Fred, June 16, 2012
  11. I have a 15″ 1380g cymbal stamped Mogars LANO that came with a Leedy & Ludwig kit which I acquired used in the mid 60′s. It looks like a partial stamp that says Mogars MILANO. The other cymbals were trans-stamp Zildjians and a Zenjian so it’s probably also from the early 50′s. Anybody heard of it?

    RPA, June 24, 2012
  12. I purchased a 16″ cymbal at the Connecticut Drum show last April. Tried it out and bought it. Just found the UFIP markings and Est. 1847.

    I have been using this as a crash and wouldn’t part with it for any amount of money. I think it was a great find…

    Bob Lasprogato, August 19, 2012
  13. For any real and honest answers to Roberto Spizzichino questions I, as the widow , am the only one authorised to give this information please ignore any other voices.

    louise spizzichino, September 17, 2012
  14. I just bought a pair of 14″ Vibra Cymbals today at a store here in Oregon. They are in very good condition. They don’t say anything else besides “Vibra Cymbals” on them. Do you have any idea if these are older or more recent Zanchi cymbals? Thanks, Nelson

    Nelson Friedman, December 19, 2012
  15. Hello, if want to know the history of Italian cymbals (drums too) you can buy the book on Italian vintage drums and cymbals at the following webpage:
    http://www.agendaproduzioni.com/editoria%20luca%20luciano.html

    Luca, February 3, 2013
  16. [...] Cymbal Stamp Timelines | Italian (UFIP) Cymbals RaBe's Cymbal Page: Cymbal series: Meinl Amun | Byzance | Classics | Custom Shop | Designer | Dragon | Laser | Laser Time | Lightning | Marathon | Meteor | One Of A Kind | Profile | Raker | Romen Mark 70 | Streamer | Tritonal The Art of Cymbalmaking [...]

  17. Great info! But I think the picture of the tosco stamp is not of the Italian Tosco but the much later Canadian branch.

    Jordy, July 25, 2013
  18. I own a funny “Smyrne” 21″ crashwash; wonder if this has anything to do with UFIP.

    Soft, August 12, 2013
  19. I have a 1,400 gram 15″ cymbal with the same Ufip stamp as that on the cymbal shown here as “purchased in 1958″. It’s heavy but I use it as my top hi hat. i have never heard such a clear bell sound as in this cymbal, even with the clutch on it. The hole is smaller than modern standard; not every hi hat clutch fits it. Is there a way to tell approximately what year it was made? I’d be glad to send a photo of it (to where?) and grateful learn more about it. I bought it at a pawn shop in NYC in the 1980s while looking for an old Zildjian. I knew little about cymbals, chose one I liked and asked if it was a Zildjian. The salesman said yes – but I later found out it is in fact a Ufip… and the “crown jewel” of my cymbal set. This site is a great resource and i am happy that i am finally able to see here another cymbal with the same stamp as on mine. Thanks, Yonatan

    yonatan, September 5, 2013
  20. For those who want to know all of the stencil brands that were produced by UFIP, here is the photo.

    Notice that CB700 and Abex were produced by Tosco from 1974 to late 1983.

    xipa4, December 8, 2013

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