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 chief cause [of lead poisoning among color workers] used to be the careless habits of the men, in not properly washing themselves after handling the lead materials, eating their lunches with their hands covered with the stuff…

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

[Sprinkler systems are a] cumbersome and costly apparatus.

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Three weeks before the Triangle conflagration, the Protective League of Property Owners's counsel, Pendleton Dudley responds to Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo order that sprinklers should be installed in a number of warehouses. Only date available: March, 1911.
03/01/2011 | 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