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

We have been legislated to death.

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James T. Hoyle, Secretary of the Manufacturers’ Association
05/19/1914 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

In Utica no one ever bothers the factories about these things. Why are we bothered this way? No, we do not keep the names and addresses of our homeworkers. Women wanting such work come in and get it and that’s all there is about it.

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The manager of a felt shoe factory
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

It is almost impossible to sell any real property in New York City at the present time at its assessed value.

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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

They pay absolutely no attention to the fire hazard or to the protection of the employees in these buildings. That is their last consideration.

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Retired New York City Fire Chief Edward F. Croker, 1913
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws