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

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

[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

Not only is this against the principal of home rule, but such legislation transfers the enforcement of the law to an unknown and untried body of men and takes it out of the hands of the Fire Department….one of the most efficient departments of the City of New York.

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Charles F. Noyes “who represents owners of many store and loft buildings in Manhattan”.
03/23/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

This bill will make it difficult for the poor baker to continue to exist, thereby making it easier for the large baker to combine with his larger brother and increase the price of bread or lower the size of the loaf, why, that is a very strong point in opposition to this bill, because the very people you are going to aid—the poor have got to be taken into consideration.

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Harold M. Phillips, of the United States Real Estate Owners Association. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws