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Old 05-22-2022, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burned, killing 146 workers. It is remembered as one of the most infamous incidents in American industrial history, as the deaths were largely preventable–most of the victims died as a result of neglected safety features and locked doors within the factory building. The tragedy brought widespread attention to the dangerous sweatshop conditions of factories, and led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of workers.

Working Conditions in The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the Asch Building, on the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place, in Manhattan. It was a true sweatshop, employing young immigrant women who worked in a cramped space at lines of sewing machines. Nearly all the workers were teenaged girls who did not speak English and worked 12 hours a day, every day. In 1911, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and the workers had to file down a long, narrow corridor in order to reach it. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent stealing and the other only opened inward. The fire escape was so narrow that it would have taken hours for all the workers to use it, even in the best of circumstances.


How awful was this terrible event...
What Started The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire?
On March 25, a Saturday afternoon, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire began in a rag bin. The manager attempted to use the fire hose to extinguish it, but was unsuccessful, as the hose was rotted and its valve was rusted shut. As the fire grew, panic ensued. The young workers tried to exit the building by the elevator but it could hold only 12 people and the operator was able to make just four trips back and forth before it broke down amid the heat and flames. In a desperate attempt to escape the fire, the girls left behind waiting for the elevator plunged down the shaft to their deaths. The girls who fled via the stairwells also met awful demises–when they found a locked door at the bottom of the stairs, many were burned alive.

Those workers who were on floors above the fire, including the owners, escaped to the roof and then to adjoining buildings. As firefighters arrived, they witnessed a horrible scene. The girls who did not make it to the stairwells or the elevator were trapped by the fire inside the factory and began to jump from the windows to escape it. The bodies of the jumpers fell on the fire hoses, making it difficult to begin fighting the fire. Also, the firefighters ladders reached only seven floors high and the fire was on the eighth floor. In one case, a life net was unfurled to catch jumpers, but three girls jumped at the same time, ripping the net. The nets turned out to be mostly ineffectual.

Within 18 minutes, it was all over. Forty-nine workers had burned to death or been suffocated by smoke, 36 were dead in the elevator shaft and 58 died from jumping to the sidewalks. With two more dying later from their injuries, a total of 146 people were killed by the fire. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/wome...ung-immigrants https://time.com/4259728/triangle-sh...y-fire-photos/ https://fiveminutehistory.com/the-tr...-fire-of-1911/ I havent put on some links as the photos are very graphic ..
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Old 05-22-2022, 02:46 PM
 
Location: USA
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And what did you learn from reading that article? Have you any comment or observation?
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Old 05-23-2022, 02:12 AM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillie767 View Post
And what did you learn from reading that article? Have you any comment or observation?
Yes I have and feel how terrible that these awful accidents could have been prevented..the very same happened in the 1950s in a Glasgow factory when fire broke out.. the windows on five levels were all metal barred and the fire escapes were locked.. many died... I didnt put my own slant on the story as it seemed so long... same happened in the 50s in a clothes shop in Glasgow... a young salegirl smelled smoke but didnt raise the alarm as she was scared she d get into trouble .by the time the fire had spread the fire escape was locked and some had to jump from windows to the street ..13 died..
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Old 05-24-2022, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
Yes I have and feel how terrible that these awful accidents could have been prevented..the very same happened in the 1950s in a Glasgow factory when fire broke out.. the windows on five levels were all metal barred and the fire escapes were locked.. many died... I didnt put my own slant on the story as it seemed so long... same happened in the 50s in a clothes shop in Glasgow... a young salegirl smelled smoke but didnt raise the alarm as she was scared she d get into trouble .by the time the fire had spread the fire escape was locked and some had to jump from windows to the street ..13 died..
Dizzybint, I know you're not American, but the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is a well-known and very significant event in our country that led to strict labor laws as well as fire safety laws for high-rise buildings. Books have been written and movies made about it.

The fire was witnessed by Francis Perkins, for whom it was a turning point in her life, fortifying her will to fight for workers' safety. Perkins later became the first woman to serve on the Cabinet of a US President. She was the US Secretary of Labor from 1933 - 1945.

One of the unions formed as a result of this tragedy, the Ladies Garment Workers Union, still holds a memorial service every March in NYC's Washington Square Park, near the site of where the building that housed the Triangle once stood.
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Old 05-24-2022, 08:33 AM
 
14,412 posts, read 14,334,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Dizzybint, I know you're not American, but the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is a well-known and very significant event in our country that led to strict labor laws as well as fire safety laws for high-rise buildings. Books have been written and movies made about it.

The fire was witnessed by Francis Perkins, for whom it was a turning point in her life, fortifying her will to fight for workers' safety. Perkins later became the first woman to serve on the Cabinet of a US President. She was the US Secretary of Labor from 1933 - 1945.

One of the unions formed as a result of this tragedy, the Ladies Garment Workers Union, still holds a memorial service every March in NYC's Washington Square Park, near the site of where the building that housed the Triangle once stood.
I'm just going to tag on to MQ's post. America went through a period of rapid industrialization that lasted from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to past 1900. Many good things occurred during this period. The overall wealth or GDP in this country rose sharply and most groups experienced a rise in their standard of living. It was the era of railroads, telegraph, and the rise of the steel industry. A number of people became spectacularly wealthy during this era. It is sometimes referred to as the "Gilded Age". There is an American t.v. series by this name which chronicles this period and some of the people who became super wealthy.

What was also true though was the rapid industrialization and concentration of wealth during this era brought about many social problems. Unrestricted immigration lead to thousands of immigrants flooding into America who had no alternative, but to take low paying jobs to survive. Working conditions were extremely unsafe in many places. New York City became the center of the garment trades. An absence of labor laws lead to abuses like young children working in dangerous jobs instead of going to school, extremely low wages, dozens of people crowded into small, dirty tenements. Concentration of economic power in the hands of a few lead to politicians being bought and corrupted by the wealthy. When workers attempted to redress some o these abuses by forming labor unions, the response was often to send the police or even army units to break strikes.

By 1900, these abuses began to create a climate for change. When Theodore Roosevelt became President the country began to see its first reforms. However, it took decades for some reforms to filter on down. Sadly, it was too late for the workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. An investigation after the fire would show that doors in the factory had been locked preventing employees from escaping the fire, that there was an absence of fire escapes, functioning water hoses and fire extinguishers, and little to no interest in safety on the part of the owners of the factory.

I won't say the fire represented a turning point. What it represented was a stepping stone towards workplace safety regulations and unionization. That is its true legacy.

Last edited by markg91359; 05-24-2022 at 09:31 AM..
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Old 05-25-2022, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
18,534 posts, read 18,779,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Dizzybint, I know you're not American, but the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is a well-known and very significant event in our country that led to strict labor laws as well as fire safety laws for high-rise buildings. Books have been written and movies made about it.

The fire was witnessed by Francis Perkins, for whom it was a turning point in her life, fortifying her will to fight for workers' safety. Perkins later became the first woman to serve on the Cabinet of a US President. She was the US Secretary of Labor from 1933 - 1945.

One of the unions formed as a result of this tragedy, the Ladies Garment Workers Union, still holds a memorial service every March in NYC's Washington Square Park, near the site of where the building that housed the Triangle once stood.
thanks Mightyqueen.. great info..
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Old 05-25-2022, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
16,565 posts, read 10,662,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
The girls who fled via the stairwells also met awful demises–when they found a locked door at the bottom of the stairs, many were burned alive.
I think the wording is confusing here. Fires spread upward, and the Triangle fire started in one of the upper floors; so a locked exit door at the bottom of the stairway (i.e. the ground floor) would have meant nothing worse than an inconvenient wait until someone opened it. I assume it meant to say that the door leading to the stairway from the factory area was locked.

Sadly, locked exit doors are still a problem even today, as any number of nightclub fires will attest. Greed still tends to win out over safety.
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:37 AM
 
700 posts, read 447,933 times
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Originally Posted by bus man View Post
I think the wording is confusing here. Fires spread upward, and the Triangle fire started in one of the upper floors; so a locked exit door at the bottom of the stairway (i.e. the ground floor) would have meant nothing worse than an inconvenient wait until someone opened it.
Wrong.

Buildings on fire also collapse.
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
thanks Mightyqueen.. great info..
If you like to read at all, this is a good book on the subject. It brings to life the types of young women who worked there and what their lives were like in that time and place, as well paints a picture of what the factory was like and details of the fire and aftermath.

https://www.amazon.ca/Triangle-Fire-...29178480&psc=1
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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Originally Posted by westminster88 View Post
Wrong.

Buildings on fire also collapse.
Yeah, I was in one of them about 20 years ago.

Which brings up an odd little personal sidebar to this subject.

I was fascinated with the Triangle story since I first heard of it as a young woman. I've been a disaster junkie as a child, and I believe it started with reading about Pompeii in elementary school. Natural or manmade, I've always been drawn to the real-life stories of disasters and the people who survived them.

Ironic, then, that I ended up in one. But along the way, say late 90s, I got to be friends with a woman who was in my department but another division. We have the same first name, both of us are tall woman with unruly hair, our jobs at that time were similar, we are the same age except by two months, and one day we discovered that we were both fascinated with the Triangle fire. She mentioned that she had listened to a radio interview with a woman who by then was elderly who had survived the fire, and I told her that I too was interested. We joked that maybe we were THERE together back in 1911 and had jumped holding hands and were now reincarnated. We even looked up the names of women who died and started calling each other by two of the names.

And then...somebody flew a plane into the building where we worked on September 11, 2001. She was up in the 80s when the AA11 hit us, I was about forty floors lower. When I got out and ran clear enough that I could look up at the impact site, I was trying to count the floors. I thought she must be dead.

There's a lot that happened in between, but by around noontime, I found myself walking in Midtown, trying to figure out how the hell to get off the island of Manhattan and back home to Jersey with all the crossings shut down, and thinking I should buy a pen and notebook somewhere and write stuff down because I was pretty sure I was losing my mind, when I heard my name called. There she was, standing on the sidewalk ahead of me, covered with plaster chips and other crap because she was still in the Concourse when Two came down. As she puts it, we ran to each other like they do in a slow-motion perfume commercial, and hugged. Then we went and bought a six-pack of beer and went to the river to see if any boats were coming (they were. We got a Circle Line tour boat that was picking up people and taking them to the Jersey side, where we caught a train, etc, and eventually made our way to our homes.)

Anyway, now we joke "This time, we got out." But on some level we are only half-joking.
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