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Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
The Triangle shirtwaist factory fire on March 25, 1911, was one of the worst tragedies ever back then, causing the death of 146 workers. This company was owned by Max Blank and Isaac Harris. They had a little shop by 1900 and it grew quickly, they moved their business to the ninth floor of the new ten-story Asch building. There were approximately 500 workers, mostly immigrant women, worked at the Triangle shirtwaist company. Bessie Cohen, who survived was inside the building and wrote a short story of what had happened. Most women either died from the fire or jumped from a high height. They jumped because the fire trucks' ladders could only reach up to seventh floor. The doors were locked to prevent workers from stealing or leaving, thus, they had no escape. According to fire marshal, cigarettes were the cause of the fire. Cotton is even more flammable than paper, more like explosively. Plus, the factory had woods and there were oxygen. After the fire, they had an investigation.
Max Blanck and Isaac Harris was the owner of the Triangle shirtwaist factory. They emigrated from Russia and met in the United States. By 1900 they had a little shop and it grew up quickly that they moved their business into Asch Building in the 8th floor then they moved to the tenth floor.
There were approximately 500 people, mostly women who worked at the Triangle Waist Company. They worked at 7: 30 AM during the busy season, until nine o'clock in the evening. They didn't get paid any overtime on their paychecks. Many of the workers were very young, as low as age of 12-15.
A lot of workers went on strike because the hours were too long and the pay was very low. There was a vote to increase the pay and decrease the hours. Workers managed to accomplish with their goal. But the workers were treated badly. For instance, if a worker arrives late, they will be sent back home. They must to be on time in order to stay working. Also, supervisors made sure that no one talked to each other during the work hours. Occasionally they were generous, thus, they would give
On March 25, 1911 was the worst day ever where hundreds of people died, especially women, they were very young. Bessie Cohen, who survived was inside the building when the scene happened. She asked her friend to ask the foreman to give her a 50-cent raise. Within the next 15 minutes, the triangle caught up on fire killing 30 percent of workers. She heard a foreman shout to her, "Bessie, save yourself." She remembers when she looked at her friend Dora, then she looked again and she was gone. She was one of those who jumped from the window.
The fire trucks' ladders could only reach up to the seventh floor. So they couldn't save the people above seventh floor. Also, firefighters held nets below, but there were jumping at the same time, so the nets couldn't hold them, so they died. A few workers rushed to the elevator to no avail. Most of those who lost their lives had worked on the ninth floor. Also, the doors from the shop areas were locked, to keep the women at their sewing machines. That's unsafe for the workers. Some workers managed to escape to the roof.
Finally, they have revealed the cause of the fire. According to the Triangle book, cigarette was the cause of the fire and due to the cottons (which is flammable), oxygen (explosively) papers, woods, and materials it grew bigger and blazed the workers killing them in instant that they had no time to escape.
Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were indicted. The trial lasted over three weeks. As a result, jurors determined that there was reasonable doubt whether the owners knew the doors were locked. They were both acquitted for the crime. Blanck and Harris were re-indicted, but they were acquitted on the grounds of double jeopardy.
In conclusion, I learned that there were over 500 workers which are a lot and they spent a lot of hours working with no overtime pay. Also, the pay was very low. That's relatively low compared to today. The doors were locked, so they had no escape and died; they tried using the elevator to no avail. They were mostly young women who worked at the factory. In addition, there were kids at age between 12-15 working in the factory. Some of them died. I am glad Blanck and Harris were acquitted for the crime. They deserved it.
How did The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 impact New York City at the time and to what extent did it influence the safety regulations and laws passed later on?
Causes and preventions:
Groups such as the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) and the Womens' Trade Union League (WTUL) fought for better working conditions and protective legislation. Fire inspections and precautions were woefully inadequate at the time. The Triangle Fire tragically illustrated these inadequacies.
Facts and Regulations:
Blanck and Harris, the factory owners
killed 131 women and 15 men in twenty minutes
No regulations - accusations were not supported by any laws
Representatives from the Women's Trade Union League, the Workmen's Circle (Arbeiter Ring), the Jewish Daily Forward, and the United Hebrew Trades formed the Joint Relief Committee, which allotted lump sums, often to be remitted abroad, to Russia or Italy.
Its Executive Committee distributed weekly pensions, supervised and cared for the young workers and children placed in institutions of various kinds, and secured work and proper living arrangements for the workers after they recuperated from their injuries.
The Joint Relief Committee worked together with the American Red Cross, which also collected funds from the general public. Estimates indicate that the Joint Relief Committee alone admnistered about $30,000.
Wagner, a German immigrant who had become active in Tammany Hall politics on the state level, established the New York State Commission to Improve Factory Safety for which Perkins worked as an investigator.
The Commission?s shocking findings, gleaned from crawling through the rooms and cellars of factories and tenement houses across the state, resulted in passage of 36 new labor laws by 1914, forming the foundation of New York State?s Industrial Code, a model for the nation. As Roosevelt?s legislative whip, Senator Wanger two decades later led the...