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

[This package of bills is] superfluous and entirely unnecessary and is a menace to our business.

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Charles E. Abbott, representing the Wholesale Bakers’ Association. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

I don’t believe we are under any obligation to work and force spiritual and mental improvement on the men because they work for us.

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

[Those killed in factory fires are] an infinitesimal proportion of the population.

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Robert Dowling, NYC real estate man, and voice of business on the Factory Investigating Committee. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

[The New York Herald noted that the owners claimed the order amounted to] a confiscation of property…

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New York Herald. Only date available: March, 1911.
03/01/2011 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws