31 August 2007

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire of 1911

I was perusing Hong Kong's Prestige magazine where actress Heather Graham discusses her labour of love for the past ten years that she's finally securing financing for... a movie about the 1911 New York City fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that killed 146 women... (I guess its a remake because they already did a movie about it in 1979, "The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal") The disaster also inspired the musical, Rags

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was the largest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers in that industry.

The company employed approximately 500 workers, mostly young immigrant women from Italy and Eastern Europe. Some of the women were as young as 12 or 13 and worked 14-hour shifts during a 60-hour to 72-hour workweek, sewing clothes for a wage of $1.50 per week!

Rollergirl will direct and also star as one of the factory workers. The factory occupied the top three floors of the ten-story Asch Building at the intersection of Greene Street and Washington Place, just east of Washington Square.

Rollergirl says she learned about the fire watching Ric Burns' History of NYC documentary. "He did 45 minutes on the Triangle fire and by the end I was bawling my eyes out."

The Asch Building was landmarked in 2003 - though now called the Brown Building and owned by NYU along with the rest of the Village.


The Triangle Shirtwaist Company always kept its doors locked to ensure that the young immigrant women stayed stooped over their machines and didn’t steal anything.

When a fire broke out on Saturday, March 25, 1911, on the 8th floor of the New York City factory, the locks sealed the workers’ fate.

In just 30 minutes, 146 were killed. Witnesses thought the owners were tossing their best fabric out the windows to save it, then realised workers were jumping, sometimes after sharing a kiss - an eerie precursor to the World Trade Center events of September, 11, 2001.

identifying the dead in the Triangle Factory fire

1 comment:

Jordan (GYAL) said...

Wow i cant believe this happened and its March 25 2011 and it has been 100 years wow that's really ridiculus and I just learned today in class and trying to find out more about it. Wow stupid firemen they had the net with wholes in them so when the girls fall thry fall right thru. A SHAMEEE!!!