Thursday, March 30, 2017

Peter Neihart Golden Age Flintlock Pennsylvania Rifle

"This iconic American long rifle is pictured and discussed on pages 238-241 of George Shumway's classic "Rifles of Colonial America Volume 1." It is also on the cover and page 1 of "Kentucky Rifles & Pistols, 1750-1850" by the Golden Age Arms Company and James R. Johnston. Shumway notes: "A lot is known about Neihart from the research of Ronald G. Gabel. The name is variously spelled in the old records. . . Peter's father settled along the Lehigh River in North Whitehall Twp. in 1738 [he and two brothers arrived at the port of Philadelphia on September 26, 1737, on the St. Andrew Galley] and Peter was born in 1743. With whom he apprenticed is not known, but it is probable that he at least was influenced by the work of Andreas Albrecht at Christian Spring nearby. . . This rifle serves as a transition piece linking the Germanic style of rifle made at Christian Spring with the classic curved-butt Lehigh Valley rifles of the Federal Period and beyond. . . The two-piece engraved brass patch-box on this rifle, with the lid bearing the date 1787, has a finial of fleur-de-lis pattern. This is the earliest dated use of this pattern that we can be certain of. . ." It is also pictured in the "Bethlehem School" section of "The Kentucky Rifle" by Merrill Lindsay alongside two Herman Rupp rifles with very similar patch boxes and stock ornamentation. The barrel has a smooth bore, brass blade front sight, notch rear sight, and deeply cut "~PETER NEIHART~" marking in Roman style lettering on the top flat. The full length curly maple stock has a swirl pattern brass forend cap, an engraved and initialed silver thumb piece, wavy brass wire inlays and stud stock ornamentation, carved accents including a floral scroll pattern on the left rear, a cheekpiece with engraved silver star of Bethlehem inlay and molded edge, and an ornate engraved patch box. Several of the components also display engraving accents".

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