Vintage Video: How An Oiling System Works From 1937

I’m sure we all remember in school when we had to watch informative videos on different subjects. Depending on the subject of the video and your personal interest in it, it was either a fun treat or a time for a catnap. Either way, the videos were a pleasant reprieve from the monotonous school day.

Fast forward to today, and some of those videos reemerge in our daily lives, and we look at them with an entirely new outlook on life. Take this one, for example, produced in 1937 by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Sales Corporation. What elementary school student would willingly watch a 10-minute video on oils and lubricants as they relate to mechanical devices?

First off, how cool is this animation from 82 years ago? Also, does the spur gear oil pump look familiar? It should because it’s still in use by aftermarket oil pump companies today.

However, now, you’re willingly watching the video (presumably) as a break from the daily monotony of work. Whether it’s the nostalgia generated by the old-timey video and narration style, or the fact that the video itself actually contains a ton of information, applicable to one of your chosen interests, presented in an extremely easy-to-understand manner, the fact is the video is interesting.

While not exactly geared towards modern high-performance engine designs (I mean, using a dipper to oil the connecting rods? We actively avoid windage at every turn possible, and the example provided relies on windage to provide oiling to the rod bearings), the fundamentals of the subject matter are the same. It’s also really interesting to see what the technology was like back in 1937, both regarding engine oiling systems and in relation to high-speed videography.

So sit back, relax, and spend your coffee break watching this 82-year-old video on lubrication entitled “Riding the Film.”

About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent fifteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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