The automobile gave individuals a means of traversing great distances quickly and easily, but that convenience sometimes came at a dangerous price. These photographs hit home just how fragile early cars were, and will make you want to thank an automotive engineer.

The Boston Public Library collected these accident photos from the 1920s and 1930s, and while they are (thankfully) bloodless, it's shocking just how thoroughly these cars fell to pieces, even when the car seems to have merely slipped from the road. The one shot of a car hanging off a bridge over the water also gives a sense of how light these early cars were — a far cry from the heavy cars we drive today, and a good deal more delicate.

Accidents: Auto [Boston Public Library via MetaFilter]

All photos courtesy of the Boston Public Library.