Oil Today, Power Tomorrow (1950) wonders how oil becomes power—“power to run the giant plants that make the things we need and use, power to speed our modern trains, ships, airplanes, and automobiles.” As the industrial film shows, turning crude oil into usable energy requires more than drilling and pumping wells. It also involves geological surveys and exploratory missions, vast shipping and transportation systems, and complex chemical processing.

From professionally made films like Oil Today to home movies shot by roughnecks themselves, moving images provide a valuable look at various stages of oil operations.