If any state has just claim to the rifle it's Pennsylvania (in the stretch of land from Easton to York just south of the Blue Mountain - right here in our own backyard!); where the first important rifle-making centers were located , where more rifles were produced than any other state, and where more fine artistic decoration was done than in any other state.The majority of the rifles referenced, when referring to this school, are attributable to a relatively small handful of men: Johannes (John) Moll Sr., John Moll II, Peter Neihart and brothers Herman and John Rupp. There are of course other gunmaking families within the region which of course factor quite prominently - the Young's at Easton, Stoffil Long, the Hess family in the northwest corner of the county, Henry Hunsicker etc.
Many of the famous Northampton/Lehigh County gunsmiths apprenticed with Albrecht.
Jacob Dickert of the Lancaster School, himself a Moravian, seems to have also had associations with Albrecht.
Settlers from the Rhine Valley in Germany moved into this region as early as 1711 and there are records of gunsmiths beginning there work as early as 1719.
There were numerous Indian towns just west along the Susquehanna River and the early development of this school was due to the Indian trade that flourished there.
One unknown and mysterious feature is the carved , inlayed or engraved face that resembles as some say an "Indian head" or perhaps a "women". Although patchboxes of the Bucks school can be developed up to four parts, most are simple; only with rifles of this school do the covers open downward.
Although most patchboxes are plain, some are very beautifully engraved.
Maybe they would be best called the "American Longrifle" as a generic term.
The earliest American school of rifle making that we know of today developed in Christian's Spring, a small Moravian village near Nazareth, PA at the Minsi Trail, serving as a home for single men and a school for boys.
Andreas Albrecht, a trained gunsmith, had emigrated from Germany in 1750 to teach music and other things at nearby Nazareth Hall, and in 1762 he established a gun shop at Christian's Spring.
In 1766 he was married and left Christian's Spring to become the keeper of the Sun Inn (photo left) in Bethlehem.
Not generally considered one of the classic Pennsylvania "schools", but rather, the forerunner of the Northampton/Lehigh school, the guns from Christian's Spring are considered "transitional" from the very large caliber, heavy, shorter-barreled German "Jaeger" hunting rifles to the long, slim, modest caliber "classic" Pennsylvania rifles of the "Golden Age" (1776-1825).