One of Clearfield County’s earliest sporting goods stores, Harder’s Gun Works, established in 1878 in Williamsport came to Clearfield in about 1889.
John Harder (1857-1910) took up the trade of gunsmithing from his father, Jacob Harder, after graduating from Lock Haven Seminary.
John Harder kept up with the latest science and production of guns and other mechanical pieces. The Harder’s Gun Works also manufactured and dealt in gas and electric supplies, automobiles, guns, bicycles, fishing tackle, cutlery, sporting goods, umbrellas, electrical appliances, fireworks and musical instruments.
Harder’s Gun Works was the biggest dealer of guns in the county during its operation. The building was located in Clearfield on East Market Street across the street from the Ritz Theater, in the area of 126 E. Market St.
J.E. Harder, son of John, sold the business to Ira Waite, who operated it for years before his children Clarence (1892-1958) and Martha took over. It was last run by Martha Waite McQuillen (1894-1987) when it closed in 1959.
Clarence Waite would give young lads handfuls of ball bearings to use in their slingshots when they would stop in the shop. The boys had orders not to tell their mothers where they came from.
A Harder gun is a desirable addition to any gun collector these days.