Born in Huntington, Indiana, in 1904, Ed Link, Jr. was six years old when his family moved to Binghamton. His father had come to this city to head the operation of a small company that manufactured automatic pianos. Within a short period of time, the Link company was also manufacturing theater organs. Ed literally grew up with the piano and organ business. Exhibiting an early and versatile interest in all things mechanical, he spent many after-school hours watching the employees at their various tasks, delighted when small jobs were turned over to him.
Ed Link's youthful fascination and interest with his father's factory was stimulated when, at the age of twelve, he became a summer employee. Later, in his after-school hours, he began learning the mechanics and operations of keyboards and cases, manufacturing chests, and designing pneumatics. As his proficiency and understanding of organ-building increased he assisted in installing an organ in the Colonial Theater in Norwich, NY, and was soon in charge of installations at the Symphony and Sun Theaters in Binghamton; as well as many others in New York State; all over California (which led the States in its demand for spectacular theater organ displays); and in Chicago; Elkhart, Indiana; Atlanta, Georgia, and many other parts of the country.
He obtained his first patent on a development of the organ tracker bar. (Since then he has registered a total of 35 patents.) During that time, he also developed more efficient metal keyboard and stop actions and improvements in the player mechanism. He designed the unit chests on the later C. Sharpe Minor models and electric systems for pizzicato and sostenuto touch.
With the advent of sound in motion picture production in 1928, the theater organ gradually lost its popularity. The Depression years of the early 30's ended the demand for the expensive organs. The Link Piano and Organ Company attempted to keep in business by developing phonographs utilizing automatic record changers (on which Ed obtained several patents). It was at this time that he also built the first Link trainer to teach the rudiments of flying on the ground, utilizing the pneumatic principle of the Link organ to provide control.
Ed Link's early enthusiasm for the pipe organ was transferred to the increasingly demanding needs of the aviation world. His flying school, which came into being with the development of the Link trainer, turned into a large business, Link Aviation. Inc., with the advent of World War II. It became one of the major industries of the community.
After the war, Ed's restless and creative mind led him to a new field which was emerging at that time as aviation had been in his youth. This was the underwater world, to which he has since made many outstanding contributions.
Referring to his career, Mr. Link once said: "I started on pianos and theater organs, went up in the air, and most recently have been occupied with the problems of exploring and working in the depths of the ocean..." In 1953, he established the Link Foundation for the advancement of aerospace and oceanographic research training and education, from the deck of the Sea Diver, his research ship, Mr. Link has led vast numbers of exploratory teams to the ocean depths. His inventions for these projects include a closed-circuit television for an underwater television propulsion apparatus which was used by the National Geographic Society.