The Harmony Museum will unveil a recently acquired barrel-rifling tool from the shop of an important local 19th century gunsmith the 8th Annual Antique Gun Show slated for Saturday, August 11.
Harmony’s own Charles Flowers made fine percussion rifles for hunting and target competition use from about 1850 until his death in 1897, according to a release from the museum. The rifling machine he used to cut bores in rifle barrels was donated to the museum early this year.
Two local experts, Ed Fish of Tarentum and show organizer Richard Rosenberger of Renfrew completed the restoration of the rifling machine, including reproduction of missing parts.
"It was Rick Rosenberger's idea to have an antique gun show, because Flowers was one of the last of the master makers of traditional Pennsylvania longrifles and the museum has a collection of 10 Flowers rifles. So while we don't limit it to guns from Western Pa-eastern Ohio, we work to emphasize the products of the region's 18th-19th century gunmakers," said John Ruch, Historic Harmony president.
According to Ruch, previously unknown examples of Flowers’ work have surfaced at each of the museum’s shows, some for sale, others brought in by people seeking more information about their treasured rifles. The show includes a display of several Flowers rifles, and this year’s will include an example found in western Pennsylvania this spring. Also exhibited will be a photograph, donated by a descendant two years ago, that is the only known image of Flowers.
Ruch said museum representatives have seen or know of about 100 surviving rifles made by Flowers.
Over 30 dealers and collectors will have with displays emphasizing pre-1898 western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio guns and accoutrements. Many of the firearms and other items displayed are of historic, technical and, usually, craftsmanship or artistic significance.
Ruch said exceptional examples of highly accurate 18th and 19th century Pennsylvania flintlock or percussion long rifles, often called Kentucky rifles as later use became widespread among pioneers settling the Ohio Valley, are considered works of art in metal and wood. Many of the guns will be for sale.
"Modern firearms - post-1898- are not allowed," said Ruch.
The show will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony. Show admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting museum operations.
Information about the show and exhibitor registration is available from the museum or 724-452-7341.