TAPLIN, FRANK E. (28 Oct. 1875-7 June 1938) coal and railroad financier, was born in Cleveland, the son of Charles G. and Frances Smith Taplin. After graduating from CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL in 1893, he worked as a clerk in the tank wagon department of Standard Oil until 1900 when he joined the Pittsburgh Coal Co. as a salesman. Later he became sales manager for the Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co. Taplin organized the Cleveland & Western Coal Co. in 1913 to sell coal mined in Belmont County, Ohio and expanded his operation by leasing additional coal acreage and dock facilities, making his company the largest coal shipper on the Great Lakes. He reorganized the firm as NORTH AMERICAN COAL CORP. in 1926.
Taplin's career as a railroad financier began in 1923 when he headed a syndicate to purchase control of the Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway as the first step in establishing a lakes-to-sea trunk line from Cleveland to Baltimore. To acquire the Cleveland connection, he tried unsuccessfully to gain control of the WHEELING & LAKE ERIE RAILROAD line dominated by the Van Sweringens—a struggle that made him a national figure in the late 1920s. Stymied, he sold his stock in the Pittsburgh & West Virginia for a profit a month before the stock market crash in 1929.
Taplin married Edith A. Smith 1 Feb. 1912, and they had three children, Frank E. Jr., Clara Louise, and Thomas E. A resident of CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, he died at home and was buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.