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Title: 25th anniversary of Robison-Smith

Speech made to commemorate twenty five years of Robison-Smith Laundry partnership

Author: Franklin Robison
Date: October 28, 1940


In looking at an old document we found a date of October 29, 1915. This document was the partnership agreement of Robison and Smith, so tonight we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Robison and Smith Laundry.


Anniversaries always give occasion for reminiscing, and if you folks will permit, I will do a little reminiscing at this time.


I have a ticket in my hand which was printed some 26 years ago. This ticket was used before Mr. Smith was a partner. At that time the work was being done in an old barn in the rear of 30 E. Pine St. and employees consisted of two men besides ourselves. Our delivery equipment was one horse and wagon and one framework of a horse and wagon. We called the framework Sally. Somehow the more Sally ate, the more her bones seemed to stick through, and we never were arrested for speeding with her. Of course, there weren’t many traffic rules in that time. There were only two that I can remember.


You had to have bells on your sleigh in the winter and bicycles couldn’t ride on the sidewalks. There was no traffic cop on the four corners; you could go across any time you saw fit. 


As I remember, we traded old Sally as first payment toward a building lot which was part of the land where our Main St. Plant now stands. 


I well remember the old boiler, a little upright boiler, and when a flue would spring a leak, we would drive in a wooden plug and when the pine plug burned out, we would simply drive in another.  Always hoping the boiler wouldn’t blow up.


This reminds me of another instance. One day when going down to the plant, the man firing the boiler told me he thought the air must be pretty heavy because he couldn’t get any draft, however he managed to keep a little fire going. Towards night we had some occasion to go to the rear of the old barn, and to our surprise we saw that the smoke stack had blown off.


Our services at that time were not so numerous, although anyone could have anything they wanted provided they wanted Wet Wash.


It was sometimes a problem to know where to get the money to meet expenses. I remember one time in particular that we did five washings at 50 cents a wash on one Thursday. That was all the work to do that day, and being so rushed, they mixed up the five washings so that it cost $3.50 to pay for their mistake.


To follow our experiences through the years would be a long story, so I had better not ramble on too long.


So far we have managed to keep out of the hands of the sheriff, but I will confess that at times we would have been mighty glad to have turned things over to him.


However as we think back, many joys and many sorrows have helped to fill the years. Many of our members have been called beyond. We cannot help but feel proud of our present institution, but the firm can only take part of the credit for this.


It is like the old argument about who won the ball game. The pitcher claimed he did, because he held the opposing team to a few scattered hits. The first baseman thought the credit should be his because he had made more put-outs than anybody else. The short stop thought he had won, because he had caught three or four flies and brought in the winning run. And so it went with all the rest of the team.


But when it was all analyzed, it was found that the coach had some part, for he had gathered the team together, arranged the batting order, and coached the team. The owner of the team had some claim to success, because he had furnished the ground upon which they played, paid the salaries of the players and advertised the game. In the end it was found that several thousand fans were also interested, because the dollars collected from them made the game possible.


This simple story explains what we mean by cooperation between employees, management and the owners of a business that the final product can be perfected, and just as the fans at the ball game demand a good game or they would not have paid to see it, so do customers of a business demand a good product or they will not buy.


So no matter where you are playing, if you have done your best, you deserve your share of the credit in helping to win the game. And right here I want to express our appreciation to everyone of you for your loyal cooperation.


The laundry business may not offer as great opportunities to employer or employee as some businesses, but it has given to us all steady employment all through the past hectic months. -- And I think we should be grateful.


I cannot let this opportunity pass without saying something about our present economic condition.


We live in the best country in the world.  But there is danger lurking -- and that danger is the extravagant federal expenditures.


Updated: 02/11/17