This post is a timeline of events leading up to and resulting from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. These dates have been compiled by dramaturg Deja Dobbins.
1900 – Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) is founded in New York City.
1900 – Blanck and Isaac Harris found the Triangle Waist Company on Wooster Street in New York City.
July 13, 1900 – Asch’s plans for a new building at Greene St. and Washington Place are approved by the city.
January 15, 1901 – The Asch Building is constructed.
1901 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Company moves into the eighth floor of the Asch Building
1908 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Company has expanded to include the ninth and tenth floors of the Asch building as well as the eighth.
June 1909 – A fire prevention expert writes to the Triangle Shirtwaist Company asking for a meeting about improving safety measures. The meeting does not take place.
September 1909 – Citing heinous working conditions, twelve hour shifts with only a half-hour lunch break and no overtime pay, dangerous machinery, and poor ventilation in the workplace, The ILGWU Local 25 calls for a strike against the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.
November 1909-Dec 1909 – The spirit of the strike spreads to other shirtwaist manufactures throughout the city. Up to 30,000 women workers participated in the strike demanding safer working conditions.
February 1910 – Strikers agree to a settlement that would result in a slight wage increase for the strikers. However, no changes to better working conditions were made. The union’s demands to improve fire safety were never met.
October 15, 1910 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory at the Asch Building passes a routine fire inspection.
November 25, 1910 – After many garment factory fires, one in Newark kills 25 workers, raising more calls for improved fire prevention in the industry.
January 15, 1911 – More than a ton of fabric scraps is picked up from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. It is the last time that such scraps are removed from the building, and the accumulation of fabrics cuttings over the next two months would provide fuel for the fire.
March 16, 1911 – A fire safety report warns that many New York City buildings lack “even the most indispensable precautions necessary.”
March 25, 1911 – Day of the Fire
March 26-April 2, 1911 – The bodies of those who died in the fire were taken to a pier on 26th Street and the East River. Thousands of people lined up to identify the bodies of loved ones. After a week, all but seven were identified.
April 2, 1911 – The National Women’s Trade Union League organizes a meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House at which thousands of women vote to press the New York State legislature for new labor and fire safety laws.
April 5, 1911 – A funeral procession for the victims is held, organized by the ILGWU
April 11, 1911 – Triangle Factory owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris are indicted on six counts of manslaughter for the deaths of two of the 146 workers who died in the fire.
June 30, 1911 – Inspired by the tragedy, the New York State legislature establishes the Factory Investigating Commission to investigate working conditions statewide.
December 4, 1911 – The trial of Blanck and Harris trial begins.
December 27, 1911 – Blanck and Harris are found not guilty
1912 – The New York State Legislature passes eight of the fifteen bills on working conditions that the Factory Investigating Commission founded in the wake of the fire recommends. The other seven, along with new protections, pass in later years.
August 20, 1913 – Blanck and Harris are found guilty of locking fire exit doors against workers in their new factory. Blanck is fined $25 and the chief justice apologizes for having to enforce the fine.
December 23, 1913 – Blanck shows off a lock to prevent employees from stealing goods, resulting in a warning from Chief Inspector John Kennedy about numerous safety violations in the factory.
1914 – 23 individual lawsuits that were filed in 1911 against Harris and Blanck are settled, with the owners agreeing to pay $75 per worker who died.
1991 – The site of the fire is declared a national landmark
February 22, 2001 – The last survivor of the Triangle Fire, Rose Freedman, dies at 107.
2010 – The final six previously unidentified victims of the Triangle Factory Fire are identified by researcher Michael Hirsch. They are:
- Josephine Cammarata, 17, who was engaged to be married on Easter Sunday;
- Dora Evans, 18, a Russian immigrant;
- Max Florin, 23, a Russian immigrant said to be engaged to a cousin of Triangle owner Max Blanck;
- Maria Lauletti, 33, who was survived by five children;
- Concetta Prestifilippo, 22, said to have been a cousin of Josephine Cammarata; and
- Fannie Rosen, 21, a Russian immigrant who had been in the country for six months and had worked at the Triangle factory for only two days.