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Harmony Museum set for antique gun show

HARMONY — The Harmony Museum will presents its fifth annual antique firearms show and sale Aug. 8 in the museum's Stewart Hall on the diamond in the center of Harmony's National Historic Landmark District.

As has been the case with all previous shows, visitors of all ages will learn about 18th and 19th century guns and accouterments made in the Western Pennsylvania-Eastern Ohio region and see at least one previously unknown rifle made by outstanding 19th century Harmony gunsmith Charles Flowers. Historic Harmony invites visitors to bring items from their own collections to learn more about them from exhibitors.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. Lunch and refreshments will be available. Proceeds will benefit museum operations. Harmony's specialty shops and art gallery are added attractions.

Collectors from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio will exhibit mostly non-cartridge firearms made before 1898. Many of the longrifles displayed were made for hunting and target competitions, although others will have military or other significant histories.

A number of guns displayed will be rare and important examples not often seen by the public. Many, especially fine flintlock and percussion longrifles made in the classic design that originated in Pennsylvania (sometimes called Kentucky) by the region's gunsmiths, are sought today as works of art.

Among dozens of exhibits will be custom-built percussion hunting or target longrifles made in Harmony by Flowers during the second half of the 19th century.

Flowers, a former coal miner and Civil War veteran, became a gunsmith circa 1850 and continued in the trade until his death in 1897. A number of previously unknown Flowers rifles have appeared at each of the museum's past shows, and the Aug. 8 edition will be no exception. A particularly unusual example, returned to Harmony from Atlanta through Tennessee, will be among at least 10 Flowers rifles on display.

For an additional fee, guided tours of the Harmony Museum will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., affording an opportunity to view its outstanding Ball Collection of 10 longrifles that spans Flowers' career.

Also displayed will be a rare, crudely repaired rifle circa 1836-40 by Charles Chaney, a gunsmith in New Sewickley Township, Beaver County, and then Birmingham, which is now Pittsburgh's South Side. Believed to have apprenticed with the exceptional gunsmith Thomas Allison at Lovi, west of Butler County's Cranberry Township, Chaney moved his family to Blair County in 1840 and pursued a career as an engineer.

Additional information about the antique firearms show and exhibitor registration can be obtained from the Harmony Museum at 724-452-7341.

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