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

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

[These changes in the fire code would lead to] the wiping out of industry in this state.

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A spokesman for the Associated Industries of New York. 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

You can no longer distinguish the real estate owner by the smile of prosperity, because his property is now a burden and a liability instead of a comfort and a source of income. To own a factory building in New York City is now a calamity.

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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