Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Research Paper

Words: 1592
Pages: 7

The detrimental Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is considered to be one of the most tragic disasters in history. On March 25th, 1911, a fire broke out and killed 146 garment workers who were mostly women. These women worked countless hours with low wages and inhumane working conditions in a factory. Even though this event was tragic, the triangle shirtwaist fire helped to shape the new world for the better. The multitude of workers trapped within the inferno to their demise was the final straw for the mistreatment of America’s workers. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire led to imperative reforms that sought for adequate conditions for workers and the advent of the Progressive Era (Washington Herald, 1911,
The United
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Ms. Cohen began her story by explaining the recent news of her father’s discovery of a new job which excited her. She was restless throughout the night and accompanied with mixed feelings about it. On the morning of her new job they woke up earlier than usual, so her father could take her to the shop and not be late to his own work. “Don’t look so frightened,” he said “You need not go in until seven. Perhaps if you start in at this hour he will think you have been in the habit of beginning at seven and will not expect you to come in earlier. Remember, be independent. At seven o’clock rise and go home no matter whether the others go or stay.” Throughout the day she would take the finished work and would put it on her new boss’s table, he would glance, check the time and then proceed to give her more work. Before the day was over she came to realize that this was a “piece workshop,” that had four machines and sixteen people working. She also noticed that she had done almost as much work as the “grown-ups”. Seven o’clock finally came and everyone proceeded to work. She thought about leaving but pushed it to the back of her mind. Her neck was stiff and was physically exhausted. When the workers began to go home it seemed to her that it had been the night for a long time. (Cohen, 1902,
These working conditions made young women terrified
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government failed to protect the women and other employees of the Shirtwaist Company. American workers finally understood that there was strength in numbers so many new determined workers joined unions to fight for their health and safety. This led to necessary labor reform and the idea that all workers rightfully should have protection from the government that would regulate how businesses function. The Factory Investigation Commission, created as a result of the fire, looked into factories for unsanitary working conditions, fire hazards and other safety conditions. The Commission was very successful, it investigated around 3,000 workplaces, and led to 20 new laws that made the regulation on factories stricter. These laws made it mandatory to have fire exits, fire extinguishers, alarm systems, automatic sprinklers and new fire proof technology into factories and other workplaces. With government officials and the public pleased to accept the economic cost of many states and federal guidelines the health and safety of American workers became an important goal. The signature of President Taft, created the U.S. Department of Labor to regulate and fine tune the new procedures and laws (Wolensky, 2002,