In 1923 James Cannon developed the M plug, which revolutionized the electronics industry and turned the “Cannon plug” into a generic name still used today for these types of connectors.
The four-pronged Type M Series connector was designed as a quick method to ground the electrical motor on portable meat grinders, but it was Hollywood that turned the plug into a star.
Movie studios used the connectors to allow their new electrical cameras to move freely about while shooting a scene. Then in the mid-1920s, as moviemakers began experimenting with sound pictures, they employed smaller versions of the M Series connector in sound equipment. Suddenly the technology existed to make “talkies” a reality, and Cannon’s invention was used to make the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer
, in 1927.
These audio connectors were soon followed by P Series connectors, developed for Paramount Studios. This series represented a giant step forward in plug design, incorporating many construction features still in use today: die-cast shells, molded pin inserts and latch-locking devices.
Next came the F Series connector developed for Fox Studios featuring a “floating contact” that made it possible for them to be kicked or moved around, while making no noise on the recordings. Quickly all the studios started using the Cannon F plugs and benefiting from Cannon’s continual innovation.