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Harris & Blanck (Isaac & Max)
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Outlaw
    Triangle Shirtwaist Factory manufacturers, company owners
    Nicknamed 'The Shirtwaist Kings' of New York City
    Isaac Harris, Russian-born tailor; emigrated to the US in the early 1890s
    Max Blanck, Russian Jewish immigrant; entrepreneur who specialized in garment contracting
    Deemed responsible for the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which claimed the lives of 146 garment workers (Mar. 25, 1911)
    Indicted on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter (Apr., 1911); were eventually acquitted of all charges by the jurors (Dec. 27, 1911)
    They profited from sweatshop labor.
    Census information for both men is almost impossible to reconcile (neither a date of birth or death to be found for either).
    They deliberately kept factory doors locked from the outside to prevent workers from pilfering garments.
    They made efforts to squash a 1909 workers strike by hiring hired private police to intimidate and picketers.
    Although they eventually relented to the demands of the workers, the sustained contempt for unionization played into their reasons for locking the factory doors (to keep out union agitators).
    Its not clear how the fire actually started, but their restrictions on the workers' movement didn't exactly help to prevent one of the deadliest industrial disasters in the American history.
    They left their workers (most of them young women) to fend for themselves - fleeing to the building's roof as soon as the fire began.
    Their high-paid attorneys combated their manslaughter charges with dirty tactics like making a witness repeatedly describe the traumatic ordeal of escaping the fire (then arguing that she had been rehearsed because key details were the same).
    It took the jury less than two hours to deliberate before determining their innocence, outraging the nation who viewed them personally responsible.
    They had the gall to accept insurance compensation for the incident; reportedly more than the fire actually cost them in damages (with a profit at $400 a victim).
    They tried in vain to enact damage control after the fire, but their company was done irreparable damage by the incident.
    Two years later, Max Blanck was fined $20 after locking a factory exit door - again - during working hours.
    The next year, they were fined again after being caught sewing fake Consumer's League approval labels into their garments.
    They probably weren't any worse than most other business owners from the period.
    They were the quintessential American success story - Jewish immigrants who, within a decade, had become millionaires after starting a successful business.
    They were in-laws who lived within two blocks from one another on 10th Street (Isaac had married Blanck's cousin).
    While records describe Max as anything but heroic, Isaac did at least have the balls to climb the brick wall of an adjoining building, break a skylight with his bare hands, and get a janitor to lower a ladder down to people (although the floor manager did most of the work from that point on).
    Isaac's sister nearly died on the eighth floor of the building during the fire.
    Blanck also had his two young daughters (his five-year old had almost been swept into the elevator by the terrified crowd of workers).
    They escaped conviction on manslaughter charges but were hit with a wrongful death civil suit, in 1913. They lost and had to dole out compensation to family members of roughly $75 per victim.
    The outrage over their being acquitted, and the negative press surrounding the fire, led to the passage of legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and working conditions, such as better quality fire escapes (or fire escapes period).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


    For 2018, as of last week, Out of 1 Votes: 100% Annoying
    In 2017, Out of 22 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
    In 2016, Out of 24 Votes: 54.17% Annoying
 
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