Triangle shirtwaist factory fire
Mar 22, · On March 25, , the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burned, killing workers. It is remembered as one of the most infamous incidents in . Mar 24, · The March 25, Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was one of the deadliest workplace catastrophes in U.S. history, claiming the lives of workers, most of .
Triangle shirtwaist factory firefatal conflagration that occurred on the evening of March 25,in a New York City sweatshoptouching off a national movement in the United States for safer working conditions.
The fire—likely sparked by a discarded cigarette—started on the eighth floor of the Asch Building, 23—29 Washington Place, just east of Washington Square Park. The flames, fed by copious cotton and paper waste, quickly spread upward to the top two floors of how to take vintage pictures building.
Many workers, trapped by doors that had been locked to prevent theft, leapt from windows to their deaths. The women and 17 men who perished in the minute conflagration were mostly young European immigrants. It happned several days for family members to identify the victims, happenev of whom were burned beyond recognition. Six of the victims, all interred under a monument in a New York City cemetery, were not identified until through research conducted by an amateur genealogist.
A citywide outpouring of grief culminated on April 5, trlangle, in a ,strong procession behind the hearses that carried the dead along Fifth Avenue; thousands more observed the memorial gathering. Though the owners of the factory were indicted later that month on charges of manslaughterthey were acquitted in December ; the owners ultimately profited from inflated insurance claims that they submitted after the tragedy.
However, the uproar generated by the disaster led to the creation happenned the Factory Investigating Commission by the New York state legislature in June. Over the following year and a half, members of the commission visited factories, interviewed workers, and held public hearings. The Asch Building later called the Brown Building became a national landmark in Triangle shirtwaist factory fire. Additional Info. More About Contributors Article History. Print Cite verified Cite.
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Mar 18, · Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, fatal conflagration that occurred on the evening of March 25, , in a New York City sweatshop, touching off a national movement in the United States for safer working conditions. Triangle shirtwaist factory fire: memorial parade A memorial parade for those killed in the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, Mar 26, · The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire—which killed garment workers—shocked the public and galvanized the labor movement. Fire hoses spray the upper floors of the Asch Building—headquarters. May 09, · At the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan, somewhere around p.m. on Saturday, March 25, , a fire began on the eighth floor. What started the fire has never been determined, but theories include that a cigarette butt was thrown into one of the scrap bins or there was a spark from a machine or faulty electrical wiring.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan , New York City , on March 25, , was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.
Most of the victims were recent Italian and Jewish immigrant women and girls aged 14 to 23;   of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was year-old Providenza Panno, and the youngest were year-olds Kate Leone and Rosaria "Sara" Maltese.
The factory was located on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Asch Building , at 23—29 Washington Place, near Washington Square Park. The building still stands today and is now known as the Brown Building. It is part of and owned by New York University. Because the doors to the stairwells and exits were locked   — a common practice at the time to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft  — many of the workers could not escape from the burning building and jumped from the high windows.
The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union ILGWU , which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers. Under the ownership of Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the factory produced women's blouses, known as " shirtwaists ". At approximately p. The scraps piled up from the last time the bin was emptied, coupled with the hanging fabrics that surrounded it; the steel trim was the only thing that was not highly flammable.
A series of articles in Collier's noted a pattern of arson among certain sectors of the garment industry whenever their particular product fell out of fashion or had excess inventory in order to collect insurance. The Insurance Monitor , a leading industry journal, observed that shirtwaists had recently fallen out of fashion, and that insurance for manufacturers of them was "fairly saturated with moral hazard.
A bookkeeper on the 8th floor was able to warn employees on the 10th floor via telephone, but there was no audible alarm and no way to contact staff on the 9th floor. Other survivors were able to jam themselves into the elevators while they continued to operate. Within three minutes, the Greene Street stairway became unusable in both directions. It soon twisted and collapsed from the heat and overload, spilling about 20 victims nearly feet 30 m to their deaths on the concrete pavement below.
The remainder waited until smoke and fire overcame them. The fire department arrived quickly but was unable to stop the flames, as their ladders were only long enough to reach as high as the 7th floor. Elevator operators Joseph Zito  and Gaspar Mortillaro saved many lives by traveling three times up to the 9th floor for passengers, but Mortillaro was eventually forced to give up when the rails of his elevator buckled under the heat. Some victims pried the elevator doors open and jumped into the empty shaft, trying to slide down the cables or to land on top of the car.
The weight and impacts of these bodies warped the elevator car and made it impossible for Zito to make another attempt. William Gunn Shepard, a reporter at the tragedy, would say that "I learned a new sound that day, a sound more horrible than description can picture — the thud of a speeding living body on a stone sidewalk".
A large crowd of bystanders gathered on the street, witnessing 62 people jumping or falling to their deaths from the burning building. One Saturday afternoon in March of that year—March 25, to be precise—I was sitting at one of the reading tables in the old Astor Library.
I was deeply engrossed in my book when I became aware of fire engines racing past the building. By this time I was sufficiently Americanized to be fascinated by the sound of fire engines.
Along with several others in the library, I ran out to see what was happening, and followed crowds of people to the scene of the fire. When we arrived at the scene, the police had thrown up a cordon around the area and the firemen were helplessly fighting the blaze. The eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the building were now an enormous roaring cornice of flames.
Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle Waist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds—I among them—looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp.
This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.
The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines. Although early references of the death toll ranged from  to ,  almost all modern references agree that people died as a result of the fire: women and girls and 23 men.
The first person to jump was a man, and another man was seen kissing a young woman at the window before they both jumped to their deaths. Bodies of the victims were taken to Charities Pier also called Misery Lane , located at 26th street and the East River, for identification by friends and relatives.
In some instances, their tombstones refer to the fire. Originally interred elsewhere on the grounds, their remains now lie beneath a monument to the tragedy, a large marble slab featuring a kneeling woman. The company's owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris — both Jewish immigrants  — who survived the fire by fleeing to the building's roof when it began, were indicted on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in mid-April; the pair's trial began on December 4, Steuer argued to the jury that Alterman and possibly other witnesses had memorized their statements, and might even have been told what to say by the prosecutors.
The prosecution charged that the owners knew the exit doors were locked at the time in question. The investigation found that the locks were intended to be locked during working hours based on the findings from the fire,  but the defense stressed that the prosecution failed to prove that the owners knew that.
In , Blanck was once again arrested for locking the door in his factory during working hours. Rose Schneiderman , a prominent socialist and union activist, gave a speech at the memorial meeting held in the Metropolitan Opera House on April 2, , to an audience largely made up of the members of the Women's Trade Union League. She used the fire as an argument for factory workers to organize: .
I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship. We have tried you good people of the public and we have found you wanting… We have tried you citizens; we are trying you now, and you have a couple of dollars for the sorrowing mothers, brothers, and sisters by way of a charity gift.
But every time the workers come out in the only way they know to protest against conditions which are unbearable, the strong hand of the law is allowed to press down heavily upon us. Public officials have only words of warning to us-warning that we must be intensely peaceable, and they have the workhouse just back of all their warnings. The strong hand of the law beats us back, when we rise, into the conditions that make life unbearable. I can't talk fellowship to you who are gathered here.
Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement. Others in the community, and in particular in the ILGWU,  believed that political reform could help.
In New York City, a Committee on Public Safety was formed, headed by eyewitness Frances Perkins  — who 22 years later would be appointed United States Secretary of Labor — to identify specific problems and lobby for new legislation, such as the bill to grant workers shorter hours in a work week, known as the "hour Bill". Wagner , the Majority Leader of the Senate, and this collaboration of machine politicians and reformers — also known as "do-gooders" or " goo-goos " — got results, especially since Tammany's chief, Charles F.
Murphy , realized the goodwill to be had as champion of the downtrodden. The New York State Legislature then created the Factory Investigating Commission to "investigate factory conditions in this and other cities and to report remedial measures of legislation to prevent hazard or loss of life among employees through fire, unsanitary conditions, and occupational diseases.
They held a series of widely publicized investigations around the state, interviewing witnesses and taking 3, pages of testimony. They hired field agents to do on-site inspections of factories. They started with the issue of fire safety and moved on to broader issues of the risks of injury in the factory environment. Their findings led to thirty-eight new laws regulating labor in New York state, and gave them a reputation as leading progressive reformers working on behalf of the working class.
In the process, they changed Tammany's reputation from mere corruption to progressive endeavors to help the workers. She was two days away from her 18th birthday at the time of the fire, which she survived by following the company's executives and being rescued from the roof of the building.
On September 16, , U. Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a speech in Washington Square Park supporting her presidential campaign, a few blocks from the location of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Warren recounted the story of the fire and its legacy before a crowd of supporters, likening activism for workers' rights following the fire to her own presidential platform. The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition is an alliance of more than organizations and individuals formed in to encourage and coordinate nationwide activities commemorating the centennial of the fire  and to create a permanent public art memorial to honor its victims.
From July through the weeks leading up to the th anniversary, the Coalition served as a clearinghouse to organize some activities as varied as academic conferences , films, theater performances, art shows, concerts, readings, awareness campaigns, walking tours , and parades that were held in and around New York City, and in cities across the nation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston and Washington, D.
The ceremony, which was held in front of the building where the fire took place , was preceded by a march through Greenwich Village by thousands of people, some carrying shirtwaists — women's blouses — on poles, with sashes commemorating the names of those who died in the fire. Solis , U. At pm EST, the moment the first fire alarm was sounded in , hundreds of bells rang out in cities and towns across the nation.
For this commemorative act, the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition organized hundreds of churches, schools, fire houses, and private individuals in the New York City region and across the nation.
The Coalition maintains on its website a national map denoting each of the bells that rang that afternoon. The Coalition has launched an effort to create a permanent public art memorial for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire at the site of the fire in lower Manhattan. Plans for the memorial include steel panels that wrap around the building, as well as upper and lower panels that will list the names of the victims and tell the story of the fire.
A reflective steel beam will extend from the corner of the building to the eighth floor, the place of origin for the fire. In , the Coalition established that the goal of the permanent memorial would be: [ citation needed ].
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. New York City portal Organized labour portal. Retrieved June 10, February 29, Retrieved January 23, Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved June 11, Online Journal. Archived from the original on May 18, History on the Net. Retrieved November 28, Archived from the original PDF on August 7, Retrieved February 6, November 1, Retrieved March 21, March 27, Retrieved September 2,