Max Blanck and Isaac Harris,
owners of the Triangle Waist
Company, move into the 8th floor of
the Asch Building.
Blanck and Harris, known as the
"Shirtwaist Kings," were Russian-born
Jewish immigrants who had made a
fortune manufacturing shirtwaists,
fashionable blouses that had exploded
in the ready-to-wear market.
Hundreds of employees worked at
Triangle under the contractor system.
The factory owners dealt only with
sub-contractors, who negotiated the
price of goods and employed their own
workers on the same premises.
Triangle owners did not keep a payroll
for these workers, and never knew
exactly how many of them were in the
building at any one point. Competition
among sub-contractors was fierce,
driving wages lower and lower in a
race to the bottom.
By 1908, Blanck and Harris had
occupied the 9th and 10th floor of the
Asch Building. They were known for
their disregard for fire and safety
measures, for submitting workers to
the indignity of a bag search before
they left for the day, and for the tight
discipline imposed during work hours.
They were adamantly opposed to
unions, and dismissed workers
suspected of union organizing.
More information on Blanck and
Harris is available in Leon Stein's book
The Triangle Fire (New York, 1962).