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.- however it is primarily the style of rifle constructed by the Rupp's, Peter Neihart and the Moll's which is often considered to be the "classic" representation of the school.It is a term which often encompasses a broader range of arms than the Moll/Rupp/Neihart triangle and often also is used in a somewhat broader chronological sense in that as a descriptive title is often applied to arms dating as early as the 1760s and as late as the percussion era.
Although most patchboxes are plain, some are very beautifully engraved.
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.
The addition of "Bethlehem" to the regional references is somewhat inexplicable, however it seems to have tacked-on to the "Allentown/Bethlehem" title due to (1) Bethlehem's nearness to Allentown and (2) the importance of the Moravian gunstocking/locksmithing shop at Bethlehem throughout the late 1740s - 1760s and its importance to the gunmakers at Christian's Spring and surrounding area.
The use of the "Lehigh Valley" terminology is likewise a generic term which owes it's existence entirely to the presence of the Lehigh River bisecting a portion of old Northampton County, Allentown sitting squarely on the banks of the Lehigh River and thus linking the work of these men with the coincidental existence of the River.