Life in the 1800s was not getting easier for work, food, supplies, and financials.
With getting a job the competition and pressure was getting high. Immigrants from around the world needed work faster than ever before. The waiting list for jobs were three times longer than normal. Everyone was willing to do anything to have some cash in their pocket. Even if that meant hot factroys, and overly crowded areas. The conditions were horrid and disastrous to be in.
Most people died of injuries from the machines or major health problems from fumes in the areas. The workers in the factories were willing to do anything for money. They needed it to provide their families, pay bills, and over thirty eight percent of workers had debt to be payed off. This means no safety laws, overworking labor, and not enough pay to do it. Finally in March, 1911, the disastrous strike struck which will never be forgotten in history. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire placed in New York killed over one hundred forty six men, women and children that day. This is an important event in US history because it helped accomplish the tasks unions and strikes had tried to accomplish years earlier, It improved working conditions in factories nationwide and set new safety laws and regulations so that nothing as catastrophic would happen again.
The workplace struggles became public after this fire, and the work industry would never remain the same again.Society was changing in the late 1800’s. Women and children entered the work field and competition was very high to get jobs. Even though more women worked during this time than ever before companies still preferred males for most jobs of authority or higher pay. It was impossible for women and children to make anywhere near as much as males. Also, African Americans faced struggles while searching for jobs.
Safety was not a big part of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. There was no water pressure, no fire extinguishers, only one door, and no air conditioning. The firemen could not stop the flames going into the air with black smoke rising.The sandpipe was not hooked to the water line. That’s why they couldn’t use the water.The door leaving the eighth floor watch one and a half foot door was the only exit.
The door was so that the men could check the woman to make sure there not stealing things. No one but one person at a time could leave the room. They had to leave one by one. To make sure that all of the workers could not escape they dead bolted the doors. This is so that no one could try to escape or run away during work hours or go get breaks. With going back to safety it might as well not exist.¨The places were so unsanitary many did not have proper plumbing facilities to accommodate all those who worked there, and no way of cleaning or bandaging a cut or wound if injured on the job. Although these were the common standards of sweatshops the Asch Building, where the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located was a very large building, with nine floors.
This building was large but cramped due to all the workers, material and machines. ¨Every inch of viable space was used to put either a machine, material or another worker.¨ Hundreds of children and women were getting injured and even killed by fall off of something or even through.
Most of the children had to work on making belts, wallets, ties and shoes. If they thread got stuck they had to climb into the machine and unravel it. Would you let your child do that? I wouldn’t. Even more that safety is health, many woman got thread in their hands or passed out from overheating. If something ever happened they were beaten and put back in to there broken chairs to start again. Near closing time on Saturday afternoon, ¨March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Asch Building in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Within minutes, the quiet spring afternoon erupted into madness, a terrifying moment in time, disrupting forever the lives of young workers. By the time the fire was over, 146 of the 500 employees had died.
The survivors were left to live and relive those agonizing moments. The victims and their families, the people passing by who witnessed the desperate leaps from ninth floor windows, and the City of New York would never be the same.¨ The images of death were seared deeply in their mind’s eyes. Many of the Triangle factory workers were women, some as young as 15 years old.
They were, for the most part, recent Italian and European Jewish immigrants who had come to the United States with their families to seek a better life. Instead, they faced lives of grinding poverty and horrifying working conditions. As recent immigrants struggling with a new language and culture, the working poor were ready victims for the factory owners.
The Triangle Waist Company was one of the largest shirtwaist manufacturers at the time of the fire. Located in the top three floors of the ten-story Asch Building in Greenwich Village, it usually employed nine hundred workers. On the day of the fire, only between five hundred to six hundred workers were there.
When the fire was out, one hundred and forty six were dead. No one actually knows how the fire started some say that it was a cigarette from one of the men and some say it was all electrical. Is fire truly a living thing? It consumes fuel and oxygen, produces heat and waste, it grows and moves. Weather fire is alive or not, it is still dangerous, so you should always treat it with care. There are four main types of fires which are rated in class A, B, C and D.
Knowing how to put particular fires out could save your property, someone’s life, or your self. In this instance it was not the case. Woman were stuck in there buildings or rooms and were getting burned to death. In all of the finals thought it was not a good sight.
Safety was out over all and there was nothing left to be done. ¨The building started crashing down and all of the woman and children were coming down with it. Most of the woman got out on the bottom floors but on the top there was no use.¨ They tried to escape but with the never opened dead bolted doors it was over. The woman screamed in tear and many tried to go down the elevator but with all of radiation from the heat the elevator could not function. Many of the woman tried to hurrle themselves out of the windows to make a landing but it just ended in death.
Even though The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was one of the most severe events in history, and had no reason for happening, it was helpful. It forced the government to enact safety laws. It even forced them to consider letting up on the work they gave their laborers. After the fire, the government enacted those laws to put people’s’ mind at ease and also to compensate for the fire (even though it wasn’t their fault). The fire affected more people than just those who worked at Triangle Shirtwaist, in a good way.
This event will never be forgotten.