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

Labor commissions, factory commissions and investigations, commissions on every subject in the Business Directory, have chilled capital; and when capital catches cold, labor freezes to death….Is the main cause of the lack of work hard to seek? Is it not that business has had too much interference from the state…too many everlasting commissions first prying into every man's affairs, and then telling him how to run them?

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State Superintendent of Banks Eugene Lamb Richards addressing the New York State Bankers’ Association.
01/31/1915 | 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 are not over-intelligent…They formed habits of living that they carried with them to their work, and that made it very difficult indeed to correct them.

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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