Triangle Shirtwaist Company Essay Research Paper As

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Triangle Shirtwaist Company Essay, Research Paper As the United States started its economic growth towards becoming theworld s largest industrial power, the working conditions in the industriesbecame increasingly worse.1 Workers were being exposed to dreadfulconditions like bad ventilation, poor safety precautions, dirty work areas, etc. It is around the time of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire that Americansare just starting to realize the poor working conditions in the factories.2 Afterthe fire, labor reforms would sweep the industry as people and thegovernment took firm action. In America Firsthand, numerous accounts aregiven of the working conditions in the factories and firsthand accounts frompeople in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire. These accounts give

insightinto what the conditions were truly like and paint vivid visual pictures of thetimes. There is also excerpts from newspaper articles written about the firethat show us how the media represented the tragedy to the public. Despitethe tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire and the other misfortunesof the industrial workers, they stimulated labor reforms that would improvethe quality of industries forever. Pauline Newman was a worker in these industrial factories around thetime of the fire. In a firsthand account of these conditions, she illustrateswhat life was like in these shops and industries. She says, It was a world ofgreed; the human being didn t mean anything. 3 This seems to be fairlyevident by the conditions they were forced to work in. They worked longhours

with no over time, no ventilation in the summer, no heat in the winter,no clean drinking water, and dirty floors.4 When asked why how shesurvived she responded, What alternative did we have? You stayed and yousurvived, that s all. 5 And this was fairly evident in the signs in the elevatorssaying, If you don t come in on Sunday, you needn t come in on Monday 6 There were always more people, more immigrants willing to work. Everyone was replaceable. On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the eighth floor ofthe Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York.7 Fortunately the first sevenfloors had already left when the fire began or the casualties would have beeneven worse. The majority of the people who survived got out of the buildingby elevator. But there were 146 people who

leaped to their deaths or died ofsmoke inhalation in the first half hour. The building was completelyunequipped with fire exits and sufficient means of escape. Besides the twoelevators, there was a single fire escape, and one stairway.8 Kate Alterman,Anna Gullo, and Ida Nelson worked in the factories and gave the accounts ofthe fire. All these women recall people frantically trying to find means ofescape. Many were jumping from the eighth story windows, accounting forapproximately a third of the deaths.9 Others climbed out the fire escape intothe courtyard where they were trapped. They went into the cellar where ironshutters kept them from moving away from the fire until firemen eventuallyarrived to cut the iron..10 Fire ladders could not reach onto the eighth floorto rescue the

workers. And nets were of no use to catch jumping workers atthat height. Because of the lack of fire escapes approximately 154 peopledied in that fire.11 William Gunn Shepard, a reporter for a newspaper, was in the vicinitywhen the fire broke out. His article was in the papers with pictures,diagrams, and a list of the dead.12 His account of the of the tragedy shows how the people of the times viewed the situation. He says, Men andwomen, boys and girls were of the dead that littered the street; that is actuallythe condition- the streets were littered. 13 The idea that the streets werelittered with people makes the dead workers sound like garbage that iscluttering the streets and needs to be quickly disposed of. He goes on to say: They jumped with their clothing ablaze. The hair of