In 1875 Johannes Link, a trained wood turner and tanner, started a small workshop for simple military drums and drum heads in Weißenfels an der Saale in East Germany. From these modest beginnings developed a flourishing business, which at the turn of the century already offered a comprehensive range of percussion instruments. In 1907 the SONOR trademark was registered with the Imperial Patent Office and by around 1925, SONOR had 145 employees and was one of the largest businesses of its kind. Management of the firm was assumed by Otto Link in 1914. Under his direction, the firm weathered wars, inflation and expropriation. Finally in 1950, he and son Horst combined their efforts and ingenuity to build a modern factory and research center in Aue/Westfalia.

Legend has it that the drum that pushed Wm. F. Ludwig Sr. over the edge and got him into the drum manufacturing business was a snare owned by Tom Mills, John Phillip Sousa's "favorite drummer" in the early 20th century. Nobody in the United States made metal snare drums, but when Ludwig was blown away in a competition with Mills, he determined then and there that he HAD to have that drum. 2 years later, so the story goes, Ludwig bought and redeemed a pawn ticket from Mills for $3. The drum below is from a very early Sonor catalog. The drum below that is the Mills drum...notice any similarities?

Today SONOR has evolved into a modern enterprise with its focus on the international markets. Though latest technology has found its entry into SONOR production methods, the secret of the SONOR sound remains. It lies in the meticulous attention to even the smallest detail and the commitment of its founder to always maintain the highest possible level of quality.