Parker 51 Snake by Ariel Kullock c1990s
by Jim Mamoulides, April 10, 2017
A slithery take on the World's Most Wanted Pen
Parker's first Snake pen was introduced in 1906 as the #37 sterling silver Snake and the #38 gold snake. The snake was a metal overlay on the hard rubber Lucky Curve pen and had green rhinestones for eyes. The silver pen was $8 and the gold pen was $10. Parker recreated this pen as a Limited Edition in 1997.
As we saw in the article about Mexican Parker 51 overlays, the popularity and design of the Parker 51 has provided a base for a lot of after market customization. One of the more recent customizers is Ariel Kullock of Argentina. Since the 1990s, he has been making customized pens, including Parker 51s with new barrel and section pieces as well as custom caps and entirely re-worked Parker 51 fantasy pens.
Parker 51 Vacumatic pen with Snake overlay by Ariel Kullock
When the Parker 51 Vacumatic was introduced in 1941 it was offered with several choices of sterling silver caps. These caps were dropped some time before the introduction of the Aerometric filling version of the 51 in 1948. The silver caps lend themselves to rework by metalsmiths who created hammered, engraved and overlay designs.
With this particular pen, Ariel Kullock took apart the cap and overlaid a silver snake that twists from its tail at the cap top down to its head near the cap band. The snake has has scales all along its body and the background of the cap covered in swirls as if a tree branch. The clip fits very tightly over the tail of the snake and would be very difficult to pocket.
Parker 51 Vacumatic pen with Snake overlay by Ariel Kullock with a Mexican overlay Parker 51
This pen was loaned along with the Mexican overlay pens and for testing purposes, I used a black Parker Vacumatic I already had to get a sense of the cap weight of the pen overall. The test pen was a black vintage 51 vacumatic, and with the snake cap, was still about 5 1/2 inches long capped and 6 inches posted. The cap is heavy, like the Mexican overlay pens and throws the balance off, so with this pen I prefer writing unposted. The test pen has the clear plastic Vacumatic plunger under the blind cap. Filling is easy: several strokes of the plunger sucks up a good quantity of ink, and with a quick wipe of the hood, is ready to write. This Parker 51 nib is a firm and very smooth fine. There's no flex, but the writing experience is typical 51.
Overall, this pen is more about the artwork than being a writing instrument. I found it unusable as a pocket pen, though very impressive as an art piece. I don't know how many of these pens Ariel Kullock made, but his current work is more artistic and refined. If you wanted a Parker 51 snake, this would be one way to have it!
Thanks to Harry Shubin for loaning this pen for photographs.
Parker Lucky Curve and other Parker Pre Duofolds 1894—1929 by Tony Fischier, © 1995-2017 Tony Fischier and The Parker Pen Company/Sanford Ecriture