Triangle Factory Laws

Triangle Factory Laws

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. The FIC even tried to institute a minimum wage for New York, but political opponents stifled the policy proposal. Other accomplishments include:

Automatic sprinklers became mandatory in buildings seven stories or higher and factories of 200 or more employees.

Factory doors had to be unlocked during work hours, and they were required to swing outwards.

A building construction code requiring that new buildings include multiple enclosed fireproof stairways and fire escapes.

Employers are required to provide clean drinking water, washrooms, and toilets for their employees.

 Women could work no more than a 54 hour work week and nine hours a day.

Children ages 18 and under were banned from work that could injure their health and well-being.

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

I have seen children working in factories, and I have seen them working at home and they were perfectly happy.

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Mabel A. Clark, of the W.N. Clark Company. Superintendent, vice president, and stockholder. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

I wonder do the American people ever stop to realize that these social uplifters are one of the chief causes of the high cost of living. If they had their way a can of tomatoes instead of costing 12 cents would cost at least 50 cents. This is the inevitable result of their endeavors.

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Director of the largest canning company in the state responds to minimum wage and Factory Investigating Commission efforts in general. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws

The hardship entailed on a certain proportion of the home workers, without means of support, the distress they will suffer, their loss will be greater than the benefit coming to the public through the elimination of that work.

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Max Adler, owner of a garment factory. Only date available: 1913.
01/01/1913 | Full Details | Law(s): Triangle Factory Laws