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 rent is very high, and you can’t recent a place above ground in New York city to establish a bakery. If you can’t have a bake shop in a basement in New York City, you can’t have a bake shop here, that is all, unless people will pay prohibitive prices for bread; And we hear a great deal now about the high cost of living.

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Mr. Frank P. Hill, baker.
03/01/1912 | 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

Labor commissions, factory commissions and investigations, commissions on every subject in the Business Directory, have chilled capital; and when capital catches cold, labor freezes to death….Is the main cause of the lack of work hard to seek? Is it not that business has had too much interference from the state…too many everlasting commissions first prying into every man's affairs, and then telling him how to run them?

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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

I can’t see what all this talk is about. How is it wrong for the State to intervene with regard to the working conditions of people who work in the factories and mills. I don’t see what they mean. What did we set up the government for?

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Al Smith (D), future governor of New York and Factory vice chairman of the Factory Investigating Commission. Date not available.
01/01/1914 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws