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

We are of the opinion that if the present recommendations are insisted upon…factories will be driven from the city, labor will be compelled to accompany them, factories, tenements, and small houses will become tenantless with the final result of demoralization in tax collections by the city. What is wanted is evolution and not revolution.

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Resolution adopted by the United Real Estate Owners Association’s against the Factory Investigating Commission laws.
06/28/1914 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

The owners of real property are becoming terrified by the number of laws which have been enacted affecting real property in New York City…in each succeeding year there is a law passed…This compels the owner to expend…large sums of money, which…are absolutely needless and useless.

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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

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