Avedis Zildjian Co.
Founded in 1623
Today run by 14th-generation descendant Craigie Zildjian, the firm's first female CEO.
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."