Thursday, May 1, 2008

Worth Sutter Lock

Bedford County flintlock Ca. 1940's or 50's

For your information, this lock was manufactured (by hand) by Worth Sutter, who lived in rural Westmoreland County, PA. Worth was a highly renowned gunsmith who worked in a small, two-story frame workshop with his sons, manufacturing flintlocks from scratch. My father knew Worth and we visited his shop a number of times when I was a child. His boys made powder horns to accompany the guns that were made there. Worth was, and I say this respectfully, a real hillbilly. Reminded me of Jed Clampett, but his artistry was unmatched and he had many high-end clients from cities far away who would travel to his shop in the hills to order and pick up custom-made guns. (The owner)

Photos by Robert Weil.


  1. I saw a Sutter lock listed on eBay recently, and composed a brief note to the owner so that he might have a better understanding of his piece. My curiosity got to me, and I started to do a little internet research, which led me here. Below is the note I sent to the eBay seller. The resemblance of it to your recollection is uncanny:

    "I'm originally from Ruffsdale, and my Dad knew Worth Sutter (pronounced "Suit-er") in the 1960s and 70s. He was a real "Jed Clampett" kind of a guy who lived out in the sticks, and was an amazingly talented gunsmith, with a client list that reportedly included corporate heads from the Pittsburgh area and beyond. He had a small, two-story shop where he plied his trade using a minimum of power equipment. His sons worked with him, and they also made custom powder horns to go along with the guns. This lock is a find from a bygone era. I'm pleased to see such interest in this reminder of my boyhood."

    So I, too, traveled to Worth's shop as a young man, and my memories are exactly the same as yours. He was an incredible artist, and I wish I had one of those rifles. Thanks for the corroboration!

  2. Hello...
    My name is Amanda and I am dating Worth's grandson and I am living on the same property that his shop was located on. It sadly fell in a few years back, but is still there. If you have any more pictures either of his flint locks or of even worth himself it would be grately appreciated if you could send them my way. i'm trying to do somewhat of a family history for my boyfriend. My E-Mail is Thank you very much.

  3. My name is Jared Suter. I am Worth Suter's great grandson. Robert Suter was my grandfather. When I seen this Online It Gave me goosebumps! If anyone knows of any guns or locks for sale I would appreciate if you could notify me @ Also I would like to know what his guns are appraised at, and who he sold them to. Thanks so much Jared Suter!

  4. Jared i have one of you great grandfathers flintlock pistols that i might be interested in getting back to your family.
    Dan Fairbanks

  5. When he was young, Worthe G. Suter worked for Somerset County gunsmith Charles Monroe Knupp, according to "American Gunmakers". Because of that, I have included worth on my Somerset and Bedford county gunsmiths web project. Could I have permission to use Robert Weil's photos of Suter's locks on my Suter web page? Here is a link to the index page of my gunsmithing web project: