Triangle Shirtwaist Essay

The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire is the biggest factory fire. 146 people died. The events leading up to the fire were not that smooth either. Women working for Harris and Blank, the owners of many of the shirtwaist factories, went on strike because they wanted better pay and better working conditions. This strike is known as the Uprising.

Led by Clara Lemlich, the strike began on November 1909. Many strikebreakers were hired to beat up the women on strike. Many of the National Women’s Trade Union League of America (NWTUL) were jailed and put on trial.

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Finally, in February 1910, Harris and Blank decided to give the workers better pay, though the working conditions had not changed. The Triangle factory fire happened a year later, in 1911, due to the poor and dangerous working conditions. The fire starts on the 8th floor, while people are getting ready to leave, underneath a table. When the people realized that the fire could not be put out, chaos ensues.

People start running down the stairs, pushing themselves through the elevator, and down the fire escape. By the time the people on the 9th floor heard about the fire, it is too late.The elevators stopped working, the stairwells were filled with fire, and the fire escape had collapsed. And, to add to the confusion, the Washington Place Doors were locked. Some of the 9th floor workers started to make their way to the roof, where their pulled to safety by people in the neighboring buildings. Others weren’t so lucky.

Many started to jump out the windows to save themselves from a fiery death. Of the 146 people who died, many of them were women and most of them were working on the 9th floor. The biggest accomplishment of this fire was to make working in factories safer and easier.Drehle has written this book because he wants to inform people about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the events leading up to it. He wants to shock us on how the workers worked in such terrible working conditions.

He also wants to inform us on that, even though the Triangle Shirtwaist fire was the biggest factory fire in New York at the time, it was not the only factory fire. Many fires started in many of the factories; they just were not as deadly. David Von Drehle was born on February 6, 1961.

He is a journalist and a writer.He has written 2 other books: Among the Lowest of the Dead and Deadlock: The Inside Story of America’s Closest Election. Drehle started his career in journalizing at age 17, working for the Denver Post. He was awarded with the Livingston Award in 1988 while working with the Miami Herald.

He was also awarded with the American Bar Associations Silver Gavel Award in 1989. Drehle has achieved his goal for writing this book. The Triangle Shirtwaist fire is not that well known anymore and he wanted it to touch the hearts to those who either have not heard about the fire at all or has learned a little about it.Reading about different ways workers tried to escape this fire defiantly touched my heart. Reading about how people jumped out the windows to escape the fire and how many people were trapped inside and burned to death made me want to cry. Just imagine being a witness of this horrible event? Hearing people cry out for help, seeing people jump out the windows, and then hearing them hit the ground must have been hard for many people to watch. Knowing that you are there but you cannot help anyone in the building must have also been hard for many of the people there.This is a really sad but useful book.

It is really informative. It does not relate to my personal life though. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America is a really good book. It talks about a tragic event in United States history. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who love reading and learning about American History. I would give this book a 4 I wish it was written more like a historical fiction book than a textbook in order to keep the reader’s attention, but overall, it is really a good book.


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