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

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.

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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

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

If in the candy business, people engaged in this line in other states who come to New York for their product are unable to receive it, they will take their trade away from the State of New York and give it to other states where this work can be produced in greater volume possibly at a reduced price.

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Alfred J. Talley of the Confectioners Association for the State of New York. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

You are putting a lot of people out of business and perhaps raising the price of bread….things are getting a little bit better [without “drastic” reforms], slowly, and I am not certain whether or not that would not be a pretty drastic remedy, not against the worst ones, but against the best of that class.

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P. Tecumseh Sherman. Attorney, and previously held the position of Commissioner of the Labor Department of New York. Only date available: 1912.
01/01/1912 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws