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

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.

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

If you eliminate further bakeshops in the cellar…the poor man is going to suffer, and we are crying now for the high cost of living. If you will wipe out the cellar bakeries, the poor man will get a smaller loaf of bread.

-
Dr. Abraham Korn, president of the United Real Estate Owners’ Association. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | 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…

-
Arthur S. Summers, a manufacturer of dry colors.
03/01/1912 | 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?

-
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