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Case Studies / The Scorpion Model Oil Rig


To mark the 50th anniversary of the spectacular invention The Scorpion jack-up rig, Thomas Lyte were commissioned to produce a silver model of the structure original invented by Roger Gilmour LeTourneau. Our team of master craftsmen and -women set to work designing and handcrafting this commemorative piece in silver plate.

silver model oil rig

Case Study – The Scorpion Model Oil Rig

Thomas Lyte holds a Royal Warrant as Goldsmith and Silversmith to Her Majesty the Queen. We craft masterpieces, bespoke gifts, objet d’art, and silverware of unparalleled quality for private individuals, governments, corporations, clubs, five-star restaurants or hotels and some of the world’s most exclusive brands.  We’ve collected some of the best examples of our work into case studies with photos and insight. Read on to discover more about The Scorpion Model Oil Rig.


What was The Scorpion?

In the early 1950’s off-shore drilling was limited to fixed platforms which were expensive to make and impossible to move. When Zapata Off-Shore Company and LeTourneau, Inc created the world’s first mobile offshore drilling platform, that was called The Scorpion.  50 years on Thomas Lyte were commissioned to create a silver model in it’s likeness.


How was the model created?

To begin with, in-house designers and 3D artworking team created a three-dimensional model of The Scorpion.  The model was then 3D printed in parts, and used to create a casting mould.  Castings were then created by pouring molten metal into the moulds.  Once cooled, the resulting pieces were handed over to our master silversmiths, who delicately prepare the castings to be silver plated and finally assembled.  The model sits on a wood plinth topped by a sheet of silver that has been planished to create the effect of waves or ripples on water.

silver model oil rig
thomas lyte silversmith hammering metal
Thomas Lyte Silversmiths and Goldsmiths - Custom Trophy Makers

Meet the Makers

Our team make the conceivable possible, while preserving traditional skills, pioneering modern methods, and promoting authentic British craft across the globe. Combining the latest technologies with centuries of knowledge, Thomas Lyte’s silver workshops in London, England house world-class facilities for an elite team of designers and makers, masters of their craft. Learn about 3D printing, electroforming and other new technologies that our team have introduced to our sustainable handcrafting process.

Our Process

  • Year Crafted. 2018

Materials. Base metal + Silver plate

Workshop Processes. 3D Printing, Casting, Soldering, Filing, Sanding, Chasing, Planishing, Polishing, Plating, and Engraving


The Scorpion Model Oil Rig

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of an incredible feat of engineering, Thomas Lyte created a silver model oil rig.

Take a glance at these fast facts about this homage to an inventor and the company that pioneered this new technology in the 1950s.

  • When was the model made?
    In 2018, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Scorpion, the first mobile off-shore rig of it’s kind.
  • What is the model based on?
    The model is a representation of The Scorpion Jack-up Oil Rig, invented by R.G. LeTourneau and commissioned by Zapata Off-Shore.
  • How was it made?
    Much of the model was 3D printed to create a castable mould.  The resulting castings were then meticulously scrutinised by our master silversmiths before being assembled.
The Details