The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

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1 The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire has been described as the worst disaster to happen during the early years of the industrial revolution. It happened at New York, in 1909. The company occupied the 8th and 9th floors at 23-29 Washington Place in the heart of Manhattan’s garment district. As sweat shops were at the time Triangle was very progressive. The factory was quite roomy compared to most other shops, and they had installed modern electric sewing machines. The fire killed 148 mostly young female immigrant workers 64 of whom jumped from 9 stories up to avoid burning alive. If you would like to see pictures of the fire and aftermath follow this link. 2 Significance of the fire The fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Company caused a stir in the consciousness of this nation. It brought out how bad and dangerous the working conditions were for many Americans at that time. There were no laws in place to 1) Provide for a safe work environment. ( thanks you OSHA ) 2) Provide a minimum wage 3) Set decent working hours with overtime pay. 4) Regulate child labor. ( many victims were as young as 13, and some just 10 years old) The fire helped the garment Labor Union in its efforts to bring about better working conditions for workers in that industry. I found a web site with an excellent video documentary about the fire. If you would like to watch it go to the following link. 3 During both the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Movement, the United States Government was hands off when it came to the Business of this country. Laissez-faire is the word that describes the attitude of the government. Because of this it was up to the workers to

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