Skip to comments.Behind the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Posted on 03/23/2011 8:57:11 AM PDT by US Navy Vet
This column is based on eyewitness accounts, trial transcripts, testimony, and information from the New York City Fire Dept. and the New York Historical Society.
It is the harrowingly small amount of sidewalk that may hit you when you stand in front of the building that housed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where 100 years ago this March 25, 146 garment workers -- 129 women, 17 men -- perished in a murderous fire that ranks as one of the worst this nation has ever known.
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I always heard that it was the union people who started the fire.
HBO has a biased story on this. Most of it is about how unions are the answer to everything.
So who do we blame for the Boston Molasses Disaster ?
So who do we blame for the Boston Molasses Disaster ?
The original “Reichstag Fire.”
A very good case can be made that if it were not for prohibition removing their ability to market their product the American Industrial Alcohol Company wouldn't have pushed production beyond capacity and thus overloaded the tank.
But of course it seldom is looked at from that angle.
To the unions this was a watershed moment for them and if they were faced with the same thing today they’d probably do everything in their power to make sure it happened.
Oh, my God. This is really taking the cake. Do you honestly think there were no sweat shops in New York City at that time??! And no bad bosses who locked the doors on their employees?! Maybe you should call this into one of Michael Medved’s “Conspiracy Theory” shows.
And let’s not forget the Babbs Switch fire in Oklahoma,
I suppose what you say goes equally for unions.
Unions were needed then; but then unions became corrupt and crooked, run by thugs and criminals who love money even more than the original sweat shop owners did.
Agreed. The best tool can be used for cross purposes. The axe use to build a cabin can just as easily be used to kill.
Of course it’s also easier to put a capitalist out of business, than a union.
I love the quote from Shane! Good for you!
What is it with some Freepers? Now we have Triangle Shirtwaist Factory deniers!
Some of you non-NYers should know that there are still endless amounts of sweatshops in Chinatown. In Newark, NJ, sweatshop workers slaved in the worst slums until the early 1990s. This is the dark side of my part of the world - nothing to be proud of and something not to be denied.
I don't recall weighing in on either of those questions. Perhaps you are thinking of another poster.
This might have been the case at the time, but nowadays having a big insurance policy simply gives the insurance company an enormous incentive to be far more strict about building safety than even the local building inspector might be.
My daughter made a similar comment recently, after something on the news about what was going on in Wisconsin. she actually brought up the Triangle fire and asked me if I remembered when she did a report on a book about it.
My daughter is 12.
Do you think some union lit the fire? You implied it. If not, I apologize.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is literally burned into the souls of most NYers - just like 9/11 and the Slocum. It happened because the owners had locked the doors on the employees (on the 9th floor, I believe). Interestingly, one of the owners did it again in 1913 and was rearrested!
No don’t that they where many violent acts committed by both sides. Those acts you reference in your post and things like the Ludlow Massacre were all to common.
My grandparents were the victims of attempted murder by the CIO, after my grandfather was elected the first and only president of the CIOA local at RCA. RCA closed the plant after the attempt on my grandfather’s life and moved to the mid-west, without the CIO.
The violence by the unions against their own members was/is very common.
Well hey...the firemen are already on the scene so it would work out.
Here is an article from NFPA on the fire and what the building codes were at the time.
Regarding insurance companies, Factory Mutual Insurance has its own Approvals department that must approve all equipment being used for fire prevention. You can’t get their insurance unless you meet their requirements.
It and the UL is also being required by Authorities Having Jurisdiction when they do Certificate of Occupancy inspections. This is US and more and more worldwide.
What I said was that I always heard that it was the union people who started the fire.
Very, very interesting! The writer and director Moss Hart always said his grandfather was Gompers co-hort (until they broke up over a fight about which one would carry their shared briefcase!) I have a photo on the wall of my great grandfather seated before his Joiner Union headquarters. Straight out of a Tree Grows In Brooklyn!
The early Labor Movement is quite fascinating. Nothing like today’s goons and thugs.
But in this case the Union was innocent. It really was the bosses who acted very badly.
I suppose it is possible that the owner (and not a union thug) threw the burning cigarette into the scrap bin — but it's not very likely
See post 35.
I’ve heard that it was the CIA that brought down the Two Towers.
I’ve heard that Jews perform sacrifices of Christian babies.
I’ve heard that men never landed on the moon.
I’ve heard that the Nazis didn’t kill millions of Jews
I’ve heard that Aids was created by the government to kill blacks.
I’ve heard that Swine Flu was created to kill muslims.
And so on........
Funny the things you hear.
So you obviously believe it was a Union member who started the fire! Why didn’t you say that when I first asked you?
Fires do happen. But the fact is the owners had locked some of the doors of the building, escaped with their own lives, and left the girls on the 9th floor to suffer the awful consequences. People can be evil on both sides of this issue. In this case, it was management, not the union. Why is that so difficult for some people to understand?
Add...and the Ladies Garment Workers Union started the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Did you know that Betty Smith - the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was completely of German descent? No Irish blood at all but she loved to write about them. I’ve written fan letters to her daughter - and she’s always responded very kindly.
You simply can’t compare the creepy Wisconsin agitators with some of the Labor activists of the past. They have more in common with the thugs of “On the Waterfront.” It truly was a terrible world for the poor immigrants of early 20th century NY. Some of my family suffered under those awful conditions.