Triangle Fire

Triangle Fire

The tragic Triangle Waist Company fire on March 25, 1911 in New York City’s Greenwich Village was a major turning point in American history. One hundred and forty-six workers, mostly teenage Jewish and Italian immigrant girls, perished after the fire broke out on Triangle Company’s sweatshop on the 8th  and 9th floors of the building. Many were locked in, a common measure to prevent theft, and the only available exit was a multi-story plummet to the pavement below. Others burned alive or were stampeded to death in the rush to escape.

After the Fire  Governor John Alden Dix (D) created the Factory Investigating Commission (FIC) and granted it powers unprecedented in New York’s history. The FIC experienced remarkable success in restricting child labor and granting women workers a reasonable workday. 

Cry Wolf Quotes

Such [sanitary] certificates will give a possible opportunity for an unfair person to make demands for graft on the small baker, who is always reluctant to go into the courts to force recognition of his rights. We believe either or both of these sections would have the effect of gradually reducing rather than increasing the number of small bakeries.

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J.C. Bogart, New York Flour Club (they represented over 80 percent of firms in the flour business). Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

[Sprinkler systems are a] cumbersome and costly apparatus.

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Three weeks before the Triangle conflagration, the Protective League of Property Owners's counsel, Pendleton Dudley responds to Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo order that sprinklers should be installed in a number of warehouses. Only date available: March, 1911.
03/01/2011 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

The business men of this country who have made and saved money should no longer be supervised, criticized, or controlled by men who have neither made nor saved it.

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State Superintendent of Banks Eugene Lamb Richards addressing the New York State Bankers’ Association.
01/31/1915 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

It is almost impossible to sell any real property in New York City at the present time at its assessed value.

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Op-ed by George W. Olvany, special counsel to the Real Estate Board.
05/03/1914 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws