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Cannon Miller Company of Springwater NY

The Cannon - Miller Manufacturing Co.

From “The History of the Cannon - Miller Factory” by Ried Robinson

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“The Chef” earphone headset made in Springwater NY.

On August 23, 1919, two families arrived in Springwater from Buffalo in a crowded Ford touring car. Mr. Edmund Miller relates that in the car was his wife, Ethel and their daughter, Dorothy; along with Charles Cannon, his wife, Mary, and two daughters, Florence and Polly, a bird and bird cage and other articles “tucked” in wherever there was room.

By prearrangement, Frank Stuart, who was in Buffalo to market a truckload of sheep, on his return trip, loaded the household goods of both the Cannons and the Millers onto his double-deck sheep hauling truck and brought them to Springwater.

Miller and Cannon became acquainted when they were employees of the Buffalo Telephone Company. Cannon was the treasurer of the company and Miller was employed as an engineer and draftsman.

Cannon became familiar with this area on his visits to the Colegroves on Canadice Lake as a vacationist.

In discussing the possibility of forming a company, Miller, who understood the construction of the telephone receiver, pointed out that there was very little difference between the active parts of a telephone receiver and the proposed earphone.

Once the decision to form the company was made, a suitable place must be found to start the manufacture of their product. Cannon suggested that a small town where the rents would be low would be most desirable, if one could be found. Through the Colegroves, they learned of the unused mill in Springwater. The die was cast and Springwater became the fortunate location.

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The Cannon Miller factory in Springwater NY in 1938.

Mr. Miller and his family rented the house of Henry Brewer, which Ronald Allen now owns, at a rental of $4.00 per month. Mr. Cannon and his family rented the back part of the Kate Hendershott Millinery Shoe, which now is Gary Robinson’s restaurant.

Miller relates that they came into Springwater by way of the Slaughterhouse Hill Road (the dirt road north of Francis Lorenzos’) and not being accustomed to traveling on such steep roads, found the experience rather an unpleasant one.

About two months after their arrival in town, the two newcomers began the manufacture of headphones or headsets in the old mill located back of Violet Kline’s, which they were able to rent from Elwood Barringer for $5.00 per month.

Some of the first employees were Waldo Snyder, Hugh Shafer, Daniel Shafer, William Shafer, John Swick, Avery Barnum, Beulah Barnum, Lester Miner, Ray Snyder, Shortie Reynolds, Phil White, Flora and Earl Colegrove, Mary Clayson, Hadley Snyder and his wife, Mrs. James Snyder.

Early customers of the new company were Brander’s, for whom they made headphones, and Hamburg Brothers, for whom they made cone speakers and headsets.

During the first year they were in business, Cannon and Miller paid themselves $5.00 per week from the sales of the business.

The Brogan family in Dansville wound coils for the company.

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The Cannon Miller factory in Springwater NY in 1939.

Due to a rapid increase in business, expansion became necessary. The town provided a building lot and a part of the present building was erected in 1922.

In 1926 through 1929, the company rented the Morris and Grover store building now owned by Emil Hosenfeld. Joseph Hunt went on the road as a traveling salesman for the company.

The partnership was dissolved in 1929 when Miller sold out to Cannon, and Miller began the manufacture of metal fishing lures in the Morris and Grover building.

Charles Cannon continued as president of the Cannon and Miller Company until his death in 1960. Since that time, his sons-in-law, Arthur Shriner and Hudson Brewer, have carried on the business in a very successful manner.

Cannon and Miller headsets are used in the United Nations Building, hospitals, airplanes, and schools, which have become one of the most important outlets for the headsets.

The company, for nearly fifty years, has been a considerable asset to the Springwater community by providing employment for many of its residents. At present the company employs about fifty individuals of whom most are local.

Miller, in his new venture, continued the making of the Min-Nix line of metal lures (the trade name used by Nixon). Roy Nixon, for a few years before, who was a local resident, designed and made a few types of metal lures, but did it more as a sideline rather than devoting his full time it.

However, Miller shortly dropped the “Min-Nix” line and continued the business with the manufacture of spinners, trout spoons and wobblers of his own design. One of his most successful metal lures was a wobbler origi┬Čnated by Scott N. Robinson, a local fisherman. This wobbler was designed in several sizes by Miller and has become widely known as an excellent lure for pickerel, northern pike and muskellunge.

Miller sold the business to Robert Strawberg in 1957, who has continued the manufacturing of the Miller line of metal lures under that trade name.

Strawberg was found dead in 1969. The place was sold in 1970 to Emil Hosenfeld, who had a wood working shop, refinishing and repairing furniture.

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