1930's Car Crashes

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1930's Car Crashes

Post by Steve Simmons » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:00 pm

I'm posting this for Malcolm, who emailed it to me. Great stuff! Click the images to enlarge.


The pictures were taken in and around Boston, Massachusetts by Leslie Jones, who was staff photographer at the Boston-Herald Traveler newspaper from 1917 to 1956.

When he died in 1967, his family donated a vast collection of 34,000 prints to the Boston Public Library. They included these fascinating photos of vintage car wrecks from the great motoring boom.

Motor cars became affordable to the masses for the first time in the 1920s. By the end of the decade a Model T Ford cost $298, just a fraction of the $1,200 it cost in 1909.

By 1929, 20 per cent of Americans were on the road. Ford, Chrysler and General Motors were all competing for the boom in business and by the time the depression hit in 1929, Ford was producing more than one car every minute. Technology meant these early cars were capable of achieving speeds of up to 50 miles per hour - but safety measures were nowhere near as advanced as they are today.

Add in the fact drivers didn't need to pass a test before they got behind the wheel, and it's easy to see why accidents were frequent and often spectacular.
Officers examine a car that has wrapped itself around a tree, spilling its interiors onto the street in Boston in 1933
Passersby try to figure out how this car ended up nose-down in a trench in Boston's West End. A glance at the rough, dirt-covered road provides a clue
The scene of an accident in 1935. Information with the photo reveals a car stolen by joyriding children crashed into a lawyer's car, killing him
Giving a rare glimpse of the day's fashion, a group of men look over a crumpled car that sits by the side of a residential Boston street
Crowds pose for photographer Leslie Jones alongside a mangled and burnt out wreck in Boston in 1933
A police officer poses next to a car that flipped over maneuvering around corner in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1935.
This truck stood no chance when it came into contact with a tree on a rural Mass. road, disintegrating on impact - leaving just the steering wheel intact.
A fireboat struggles to haul a car out of the Fore River in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1933. They succeeded, but couldn't save the three passengers, who drowned
This car came out loser in a battle of wills with a trolley bus on Boston's South End in 1932
Children peer out of the undergrowth as photographer Leslie Jones captures a nasty wreck smouldering by the side of the road in Hingham
Crowds watch in awe as a car is winched out of the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass in 1933. close to the Harvard University campus
Taken in 1934, this photograph shows a truck balancing on a bridge in Dorchester by just one wheel. Workers from the Walter Baker & Co chocolate factory rushed out of the building in the background to watch
Another angle from the same accident shows how close the truck is from toppling into the water
This car remarkably survived a collision with a utility pole in Cambridge, Mass - with just a mangled bumper to show for the crash
The driver of this car was unlikely to have survived this collision. The wreck is wrapped entirely around a tree, which sits in the driver's position
The shell of a truck is pulled from the Charles River after it careered off the Harvard Bridge
Photographer Leslie Jones had to part crowds of onlookers to capture this accident in downtown Boston. An out of control car collided with a shop front, smashing windows and ending up on its side
Local businessman Byron Harwood and Byron Grover were hurt when their car collided with a bus in Waltham, Mass. in 1921. They were lucky to survive this nasty looking wreck. Their car certainly didn't
Taken in 1934, this photo shows a car that skidded out of control on ice-covered roads and wrapped around a tree in Auburndale, Mass.
A truck collided with a bus and flipped over in south Boston, stopping just before it smashed into a cafeteria storefront
Another view of the same accident shows eager children posing with the upturned truck. it also demonstrates how close the vehicles came to nearby buildings
A Cudahy Packing Co. truck is hauled out of Fort Point Channel, which separates South Boston and downtown Boston
Even public servants weren't immune to accidents. An early mail truck came out loser in this battle with a tree on the tree-lined Commercial Avenue, Boston
Sitting in a Boston wrecking yard, this cross section of a wreck shows how basic car interiors were in the early days of motoring.

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Re: 1930's Car Crashes

Post by Jimmy » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:48 pm

I didn't know that Tanny's family had its roots in Boston, MA.
In baseball, running into someone is apparently a "collision".
But doing the same thing in a car somehow makes it an "accident".

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Re: 1930's Car Crashes

Post by tannyo » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:54 pm

Look at those bald tires in the first picture. No wonder they couldn't control the car.

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Re: 1930's Car Crashes

Post by Martin Keller » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:55 am

tannyo wrote:Look at those bald tires in the first picture. No wonder they couldn't control the car.

Those are racing tires of the time...... :lol: ...... :jester
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Re: 1930's Car Crashes

Post by HealeyBN7 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:16 pm

It struck me that most of the pictures show the radiators untouched.

Next time I ride in Steve's Model T I am sitting on the front bumper.


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Re : 1930's Car Crashes

Post by VWNate1 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:41 am

Then as now , speed and ignorance are the primary causes of vehicle collisions .

It's neat to see older pix of where I grw up .

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Re: 1930's Car Crashes

Post by Fifty Six MGA » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:46 am

HealeyBN7 wrote:It struck me that most of the pictures show the radiators untouched.

Next time I ride in Steve's Model T I am sitting on the front bumper.


I hate the overused LOL, but your comment truly made me laugh out loud. I'd noticed too how many of them looked liked they'd slid sideways into something.

Early drifters?

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Steve Simmons
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Re: 1930's Car Crashes

Post by Steve Simmons » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:57 am

Dean, it may pain you to learn (literally) that the Model T has no front bumper. You will instead be sitting on the crank start handle. Ouch! :eek:

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