Vintage Video: Down the Gasoline Trail (1935)

Gasoline has been revered as “liquid power, to run millions of cars”. In the video above, you get the opportunity to follow a cartoon ‘gas drop’ from the gas nozzle, through the gas induction system, to the combustion chamber/cylinder and finally exiting the exhaust pipe. The full life cycle of a drop of gasoline.

The film's hero, a cartoon drop of gasoline, goes from the pump to the tank, where it swims around for a little bit.

These great old videos are seemingly narrated by the same voice over actor, which adds to the fun of watching these vintage films. In this film, the narrator explains how the gas lines have to be kept cool so the gasoline does not turn to vapor too soon and the gas would get stuck in the lines or could cause vapor lock to occur. This was a legitimate problem not too long ago in several areas of the country.

The voice over actor goes no to explain the internal workings or the ‘behind the scenes’ of the fuel pump. He tells the listener that the pump is responsible for pulling the gas from the gas tank, through the lines and into the glass bowl. Of course we do not have glass bowls in our current makes and models, but at one time, using glass bowls helped motorists and mechanics judge the quantity and quality of gas being used.

Finding the fuel line, our little drop goes to the fuel pump where it is passed along to the carburetor.

 

There is a screen that has 14,000 tiny holes per square inch at the top of the glass bowl, an early type filter, that prevents water and especially dirt from getting into the carburetor. Of course most of today’s cars are not carbureted, they are fuel injected but the systems are still very similar.

Eventually our drop passes the intake valve where it is squeezed into the combustion chamber and burned by the spark plug.

Everything else in the routing of the cartoon gas drop is the same, foreign or domestic, carbureted or fuel injected. Our drop of gas goes from the carb or fuel injection to the manifold, then to the cylinder and into the intake valves. Then the last trip of the gas drop’s life is in the combustion chamber for the piston and spark plug where the gas drop then becomes exhaust.

This video helped many people see this trip down the gasoline trail as the science that it truly is.

The little drop of fuel ends it’s productive life by exiting from the car’s tail pipe. It now enters an afterlife where it mixes with the atmosphere – and that is a whole different video by the EPA.

About the author

Nichole Holzli

Now a resident of Denver, Nichole grew up on a ranch in Southern California and relocated to a small town in Northern California upon starting high school. There she became a member of the Future Farmers of America, cultivating leadership skills and putting them into practice. Nichole has a passion for reading, a talent for writing, and a lifelong love affair with cars. She is married with four children and provides content for Power Automedia as a freelance writer.
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