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 owners of real property are becoming terrified by the number of laws which have been enacted affecting real property in New York City…in each succeeding year there is a law passed…This compels the owner to expend…large sums of money, which…are absolutely needless and useless.

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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

Contrary to the predictions of the canners, the next year there was no shortage of canned vegetables or fruits.

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George Whitney Martin, from his biography of Frances Perkins. Date not available.
01/01/1914 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

To my mind this is all wrong….The experience of the past proves conclusively that the best government is the least possible government, that the unfettered initiative of the individual is the force that makes a country great and that this initiative should never be bound...

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Laurence M. D. McGuire president of the Real Estate Board of NYC. He replaced Dowling on the Factory Investigating Commission in July of 1914. Only date available: 1915.
01/01/1915 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

The only tendency toward illness comes to men who are intemperate in their habits. In every case of poisoning I have heard of, the man was an exceedingly hard drinker….Where the men are temperate in their habits I never found a case…

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Arthur S. Summers, a manufacturer of dry colors.
03/01/1912 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws