Petroleum History Video Links
In addition to responding to requests for photography resources, the society has researched a selection of petroleum video and film links. Importantly, many community museums have created local historical videos — and documented oral histories.
The following links are some easily accessible resources. Visit here again, because this list will grow. We encourage follow-up calls and emails that help AOGHS maintain and expand its links for future mage researchers.
Note that at some sites, downloading materials for personal use with proper attribution of the source is permitted; however, this sometimes does not grant permission to publish.
Please be sure to examine each site’s copyright requirements. Also, please support AOGHS.
The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, it provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.
This online archives offers still and motion media, including the Prelinger Archives - which collects, preserves, and facilitates access to films of historic significance produced by and for hundreds of U.S. corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions.
The collection includes downloadable files in a variety of formats, for example, the 13-minute “Destination Earth,” an entertaining 1956 cartoon by the American Petroleum Institute.
A Martian learns that oil and competition are two things that help make America great. It’s a classic.
The American Memory project is part of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1884 to 1915 features job, school, and leisure activities in the United States in 150 motion pictures, 88 of which are digitized for the first time.
More than 60 videos are also available in other American Memory presentations, including the library’s Motion Picture & Television Reading Room.
The films record a wide variety of industrial jobs, and events, including such rarities as the Edison film “Destruction of Standard Oil Company’s plant at Bayonne, N.J., by fire on July 5th, 1900.” The films are keyword searchable, well indexed and can be downloaded.
Although offering no online videos, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History Archives Center holds Approximately 120 episodes of the Industry on Parade, a film collection from 1950 to 1960.
The films are available for research viewing on VHS reference copies. All duplication requests must be reviewed by the center’s audio-visual archivist.
Each Industry On Parade episode was 13.5 minutes long and, for most of the series, contained three to four stories examining some aspect of American manufacturing and business.
Toward the end of the 1950s, episodes were arranged thematically, featuring a single type of product, industry, or American consumer.
“An economic boom that began in western Pennsylvania in 1859 set the stage for an industry that transformed the world,” notes a documentary commemorating the 2009 sesquicentennial of Edwin Drake drilling the first commercial oil well for the Seneca Oil Company outside Titusville, Pennsylvania,
WQED of Pittsburgh produced the documentary, The Valley That Changed the World, in association with the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism – to educate Americans about the birth of the petroleum industry.
The program describes the birth of the petroleum industry and the developments over the ensuing century and a half that affected everyday lives as well as world politics.
Using rare photographs, archival materials, interviews with historians and oil families, the evolution of the petroleum industry from an 1859 alternative illuminant to its present day energy dominance is chronicled.
The DVD – and many other interesting books and maps – can be purchased for $19.95 from the Oil Region Alliance store.
Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society with a donation.