The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Brenda Lange

By Brenda Lange

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Extra resources for The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Sample text

Even single young women often were the sole support for their parents and siblings. In the case of the Triangle Company, 37 of the girls who died left behind relatives in Europe who had depended on their paychecks. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers worked under awful conditions, and the gap between employer and employee was huge. For a long time, the rich held all the power over these impoverished immigrants and believed they had the right to that power. It took time for the working class to realize that if they joined together—organized and presented a united front to their bosses—they could be more successful in getting what they wanted.

Most of those who died had been working on this floor. During the investigation after the fire, many people mentioned the fact that doors were locked. In their testimony, 57 58 THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FACTORY FIRE Factory owners often pushed sewing machines close together to pack in as many workers as possible. This limited and even cut off escape routes. Above, the sewing floor of a Troy, New York, factory holds hundreds of employees. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris said that locking one of the two doors was standard practice so that the factory managers could check the women’s purses.

During the investigation after the fire, many people mentioned the fact that doors were locked. In their testimony, 57 58 THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FACTORY FIRE Factory owners often pushed sewing machines close together to pack in as many workers as possible. This limited and even cut off escape routes. Above, the sewing floor of a Troy, New York, factory holds hundreds of employees. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris said that locking one of the two doors was standard practice so that the factory managers could check the women’s purses.

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