Robinson Constitution (Newspaper); March 14, 1900 - page 8. Compiled by Sue Jones

Dave Chamblin, a long time ago, rang the bell of the M. E. church as its janitor. There is no Methodist complaining that Mr. Chamblin did not then ring the bell good and strong, and if the sinner did not come out and repent it certainly was not Mr. Chamblin's fault. It may be that even that far back the tinkle of the telephone bell, which was to mark a smart step in the progress of this enterprising city, sang its song in the ears of the janitor while he pulled the rope running to the belfry. True to his creed he had faith. Faith works wonders sometimes, even though it may be intertwined with the waxened threads of a busy life. It may be that this David of modern time was like his namesake of old and had remarkable wisdom, and sighted short cuts to buying the family supplies it tangles up a cord, especially in cold weather, when one has to lay aside one's apron, wax and awl and go order a dozen eggs or so or match a skein of floss. The best method of solving these problems was delegated to a brother of Mr. Chamblin, who lives over in Newton, a mechanical genius, who invented and patented a telephone, which, if it did not disclose "thoughts that breathe", at least had a diaphragm, and the rights for Crawford county for this invention were bought by Mr. Chamblin of his brother.

The introduction of this telephone into the city was not inaugurated by the boom of cannon, nor the fan of trumpets. A few oaken poles supplemented, by the ridge poles on adjacent barns, sufficed for stringing the wire upon which was carried the first "mechanical message".

J. M. Jean, was the first citizen to test the Chamblin telephone. He connected his poultry and egg emporium with the depots for business reasons. It was rather amusing to hear Mr. Jean call up people at the other end of the line. He had to beat a rat-a-tat or "one, two, three, look out for me" business on the "diaphragm" to attract some one he wanted to ask about the arrival of a coop of hens. Once in awhile he would get Tom Wilson or Joe Price to answer something or other, and if the phone was not working just right and Jean could not understand, both Tom and Joe would swear the poultry man would talk back things he had read from Tom Paine. They also have this to say about the first telephone in Robinson. One day a pullet "flew the coop" down at the poultry house and Mr. Jean, in his excitement and haste, flew to his telephone and calling up both depots shouted, "Look out for a flyer!" The telegraph operators on both roads kept the wires hot for sometime wanting to know what specials were out.

But that was a long time ago, and now we have one of the best telephone systems in the country, and all developing from Mr. Chamblin's untiring industry and stick-to-itiveness. It was in 1894 or 1895 that the experimental line was strung from Jean's to the depots. In 1897 Mr. Chamblin succeeded in getting a franchise from the city for an electric telephone line. As a beginning the wires were strung on the electric light poles to accommodate the twenty subscribers to the enterprise. The business increased and in '98 the system was rebuilt with cedar poles and all up-to-date appliances, so that today eighty-six phones are in actual service in the city, and there are applicants for enough to make an even hundred, which will be supplied by the company as soon as its orders can be filled. Telephone supply houses are thirty days behind in filling orders, so it is impossible to meet the local demands.

While the electric telephone is not by any means a new invention it has not been long in Robinson. The businessmen, as well as citizens generally, hail its advent with delight and would not dispense with its benefits for more than the cheap rate charged under the present management. The people of the city feel that the system has grown and flourishes as a home enterprise and are willing and ready at all times to place the credit where it belongs to D. J. Chamblin & Sons - who have labored so persistently to make the system the success it is.