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

The hardship entailed on a certain proportion of the home workers, without means of support, the distress they will suffer, their loss will be greater than the benefit coming to the public through the elimination of that work.

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Max Adler, owner of a garment factory. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

If in the candy business, people engaged in this line in other states who come to New York for their product are unable to receive it, they will take their trade away from the State of New York and give it to other states where this work can be produced in greater volume possibly at a reduced price.

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Alfred J. Talley of the Confectioners Association for the State of New York. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

This is not a charitable business.

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A factory owner, unnamed. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

Excited persons rarely accomplish anything…No new laws are needed.

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The New York Times tended to be very pro-business during this period. After the fire, but before the launch of the Factory Investigating Commission. Only date available: 1911.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws