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 would consider it a grave injustice to ourselves as well as to the bakers and the public at large if the bakers in our city were unfairly discriminated against in their struggle for existence either by conditions such as they could not reasonably hope to contend against, or by making it possible for bakers of other localities to determine their business here in their home market by more favorable terms. This, we believe, will be the effect of section 116 of the proposed law, which prohibits the establishment of future cellar bakeries.

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J.C. Bogart, New York Flour Club (they represented over 80 percent of firms in the flour business). 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

[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

Many owners will be so financially embarrassed by the great expenditure made necessary thereby that great numbers of buildings would be forced into foreclosure or otherwise sacrificed.

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The Realty League inveighs against the Factory Investigating Commission fire regulations.
03/19/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws