Frank B. Laughlin (1835-1905)

The following biography was started by NPS researchers, but greatly expanded upon by researcher John Leach:

Frank B. Laughlin was a Pittsburgh iron manufacturer and carbon products manufacturer. He also worked in his father's businesses, which sold everything from food to building materials.

He was born Francis Bailey Laughlin in Pittsburgh on December 1, 1835. His parents, Alexander Laughlin and Mary Ann (Bailey) Laughlin, had emigrated to Pittsburgh from County Down in Northern Ireland in 1819, and other members of both families soon joined them.

Alexander Laughlin started out in the grocery business, then moved into pork products and building materials. In 1851, he became a partner in the Stewardson Furnace north of Pittsburgh, which began producing pig iron in 1852.

Frank Laughlin went to work for his father and spent time with all of the family's enterprises. By 1860, he was a manager at the Stewardson Furnace, a job that continued until at least 1870.

In 1858, he married Margaret Burtch, the daughter of a merchant from Vincennes, IN. They had six children.

With the death of his father in 1867, Frank took on the leadership of the family's businesses and merged the Stewardson Furnaces into the F.B. & A. Laughlin Co. He also joined with Henry Clay Frick and George Dilworth to found the Duquesne Club on June 11, 1873. The club served as a private gathering place for Pittsburgh industrialists and civic leaders.

In 1880, Laughlin and his family were living on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh's 22nd Ward. Their neighbors included the Woodwell and French families who also were members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.

In about 1880, Laughlin helped organize the Solar Carbon Co. to produce batteries and carbon components for electric lights. Solar Carbon was later merged into the National Carbon Co. as the industry consolidated and Laughlin retired.

Frank B. Laughlin died in Pittsburgh on August 9, 1905.

Last updated: April 7, 2017

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