The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911
What do we think of when we hear the word sweatshop? Many people associate that word with female immigrant workers, who receive very minimal pay. The work area is very dangerous to your health and is an extremely unsanitary work place. The work area is usually overcrowded. That is the general stereotype, in my eyes of a sweatshop. All if not more of these conditions were present in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. This company was located in New York City at 23-29 Washington Place, in which 146 employees mainly women and girls lost their lives to a disastrous fire. "A superficial examination revealed that conditions in factories and manufacturing establishments that developed a daily menace to the lives of the thousands of working men, women, and children" (McClymer 29). Lack of precautions to prevent fire, inadequate fire-escape facilities, unsanitary conditions were undermining the health of the workers. The need for an investigation was starting to be recognized. The hazards to life because of fire are: covering fire prevention, arrangement of machinery, fire drills, inadequate fire-escapes and exits, number of persons employed in factories and lofts, etc. Some of the dangers to life and health because of unsanitary conditions are: ventilation, lighting and heating arrangement, hours of labor, etc. There was no insulation in the winter, only a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the factory. In the summer you suffocated with practically no ventilation. There was no drinking water, except maybe a tap that is in the hall, which was warm and dirty. New York was the first state in the Union to authorize a general investigation of the conditions in manufacturing establishments within its borders. According to the preliminary report of the census of 1910, there were 1,003,981 men, women, and children employed in the factories and manufacturing establishments of New York State. New York has already expended great sums of money...
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