The Sexy and Exciting Oil Industry

Flowing GoldFlowing Gold
The Romance of Oil

This book seems to be written with the cooperation of the oil industry, specifically Standard Oil.  There are lots of pictures of impressive refineries and pumps. There is nothing about environmental issues. Oil is good. Pipelines are good. Drilling everywhere and anywhere is good. Oil = Freedom.

I wonder if Mr. Floherty would still think this is romantic after the Exxon Valdez disaster or BP’s Gulf oil spill?


taste core for salt

oil drilling workers

radioactive samples



  1. Hey, my mother had that core sample job back in the 40s. My father worked for another company and they met at an oil conference. So, oil IS romantic!

  2. These books are like time travel. Look at that hair – and those sketches of the outside workers….I love the “driller and his cherished rock bit”. It looks like a sea lamprey!

  3. Look at the tongue on that geologist! The author is right: there sure is romance in oil.

  4. Remember, this was also around that time that radioactivity was COOL and the only side effect from too much might be awesome super powers. Or giant animals.

    My 10 month daughter would like to apply for the rock licking job.

  5. The photo of the geologist licking a rock reminds me of an oil company commercial that aired 10-15 years ago, when I was in engineering school. The commercial talked about the dedication of the company’s engineers, and how much they were into rocks — “they even lick them,” it said. Watching TV with a group of friends, we saw this commercial, and at the licking rocks line, we all turned to look at the geological engineer in our group and someone asked, “do you lick rocks?” Our friend replied, somewhat sheepishly, “well yeah, sometimes.” =)

  6. I’m sorry–I can’t hire you. Your’re steady, but I’m afraid you just aren’t stalwart enough.

  7. I am a modern day geological engineer who visits your site regularly. I normally agree with your reviews but me this book has the same camp appeal as Swiss tourism posters from the 1920’s or war time propaganda posters from the 40’s. The ugly details were skimmed over because it was a gentler time. If you don’t want this book send it to me (I will pay for shipping)!
    Best Regards,

    1. Kelly, I borrowed this book from an active library collection, and they haven’t weeded it. Sorry!

  8. Anyone ever see the old Jimmy Stewart movie Thunder Bay? It’s a fun film, but it’s really weird to see the guy who wants to build near-shore oil wells as the visionary and the fishermen worried about the effect on their business as the short-sighted luddites (but it ends happily, it turns out oil is good for the shrimp industry!).

  9. I am a geologist for an oil company and we do lick rocks and bite them and smell them for SCIENCE. You can smell the oil and gas seeping out of them. It smells like money ;). If you bite a little piece off you can determine the grain size of the sample. Coarser pieces feel gritty, that’s the mud sized pieces. Finer pieces are smooth, that’s the clay. And licking, you can taste the salt.

    And yes the book is outdated and much of the industry has changed. But wouldn’t that be true for any book written 50+ years ago about any occupational field??

  10. I can’t believe this book is still on shelf somewhere! This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen on this site. Oil is responsible for the wholesale slaughter of thousands of species and will result in the human race’s demise too. We all know now that there is a much better, cheaper, and cleaner alternative to oil. Someone just needs to figure out what it is. Then the world will become a paradise of peace and harmony since there will be no oil needed to fight wars over. Take that, Bush and Cheney!

  11. very cool book. Not appropriate for a non-historical library collection but still cool. and the comments kinda make me wish i were an engineer instead of a librarian. okay…not kinda. science is cool. 🙂

  12. I’m currently living in Bahrain, just off the coast of Saudi Arabia. This is the first Arab country to strike oil–a fact of which they are very proud. Historical exhibits and photo displays around the main island still maintain this feel to a great extent. There are generally black and white photos of men in thobes and business suits, oil wells, and a lot of Rolls Royces.

Comments are closed.