Today is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory fire, a tragedy in Lower Manhattan that claimed the lives of 146 people, all but 23 of whom were young women. One of the landmark disasters in American history, it eventually inspired important shifts in the nation’s laws, particularly those protecting the rights of workers and the safety of buildings.

The Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, as it is commonly recorded in history books, was one of the nation’s landmark disasters, a tragedy that enveloped the city in grief and remorse but eventually inspired important shifts in the nation’s laws, particularly those protecting the rights of workers and the safety of buildings.

The tragedy galvanized Americans, who were shaken by the stories of Jewish and Italian strivers who had been toiling long hours inside an overcrowded factory only to find themselves trapped in a firestorm inside a building’s top floors where exit doors may have been locked. At least 50 workers concluded that the better option was simply to jump.

For more information: The New York Times.

Also: TRIANGLE — The Fire That Changed America By David Von Drehle
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