The recipient of a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Cairo University, Cameel Halim is a distinguished real estate investor who serves as president of Illinois’ CH Ventures, LLC. Along with his wife and family, Cameel Halim is a passionate timepiece and stained glass collector who recently opened the Halim Time & Glass Museum to display his extensive collection, which includes masterpiece windows from acclaimed American artists including Mary Tillinghast.
Born in 1845, Tillinghast traveled extensively throughout Europe and studied painting in Paris under Emile-Auguste Carolus-Duran, who also taught American painter John Singer Sargent. Tillinghast began making decorative glass window art in 1878 upon forging a partnership with fellow painter and muralist John La Farge. Through seven years of working with La Farge, Tillinghast became an expert in textile design and worked in an executive role with the La Farge Decorative Art Company.
Working out of her Greenwich Village studio, she designed numerous windows for churches, residences, and institutions, some of which earned gold medals at various world’s fairs. Tillinghast’s first major project, Jacob’s Dream, was installed in New York City’s Grace Episcopal Church in 1887. Her other notable windows include Urania and The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which were installed in the Allegheny Observatory and the New York Historical Society, respectively.
Halim Time and Glass Museum
A real estate investor for over four decades, Cameel Halim serves as president of CH Ventures LLC. A timepiece collector, Cameel Halim has a collection of over 600 clocks and 200 pocket watches on display at the Halim Time and Glass Museum.
The museum showcases ancient timepieces from different periods in history, most dating prior to 1800. Objects on display include a rare elephant clock from the 17th century, which features a man tied to a tree. Every hour, the man is circled by a lion and a leopard, signifying the “death of the hour.”
Other clocks that stand out include an English skeleton clock enclosed in a glass dome that was shattered during World War II, when the Germans bombed London. The dome has since been glued back together. Another English clock keeps time as a marble zigzags along a track every 30 seconds.
Cameel Halim, a civil engineering graduate of Cairo University, is the president of CH Ventures, LLC, in Wilmette, Illinois, and owner of the Halim Time and Glass Museum in Evanston. Beyond his professional activities, Cameel Halim enjoys engaging with the local community, once saving a local historic home from demolition.
In 2005, a historic Chicago-area home was stripped of windows, appliances, and other vintage fixtures before property developer Antoinette Vigilante put the building up for sale. Vigilante had considered demolishing the building at 157 Kenilworth Avenue, which was designed by renowned Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, though this possible outcome was met with considerable outcry from preservationists and the local public. Kenilworth has no laws governing the preservation of historical landmarks; however, the town was able to delay demolition for more than half a year.
Mr. Halim ultimately purchased the house for $2.35 million. The sale represented a collaboration between Halim and Vigilante, who sold the property at a considerable loss, and was made possible thanks to the village of Kenilworth, which worked to reimburse Vigilante for between $40,000 and $50,000 in fees. The sale was recognized with a small celebration at the home by citizens and preservationists.
The owner of the newly-opened Halim Family Museum of Time & Glass in Evanston, Illinois, Cameel Halim employs his real estate experience to save local historic buildings. Alongside working to prevent the destruction of old houses in the Kenilworth area, Cameel Halim has also revitalized old and run-down buildings of little significance, such as common-corridor apartments on Kenmore Avenue in Edgewater.
The Edgewater Community Council became concerned about certain buildings on Kenmore Avenue which were becoming a blight on the neighborhood. These buildings included a particularly problematic series of common-corridor apartments, which have all the apartment doors opening out into a single corridor. Their existence contributed substantially to the area’s slipping reputation.
So far 17 of the 47 common-corridor buildings have changed ownership and been rehabilitated. Low acquisition costs allow the new owners to offer the renovated apartments for reasonably low rents to tenants who have been screened for the likelihood of stability. One of the buildings also serves as the location for an artists-in-residence program headed by Jack O’Callaghan.
These efforts continue to bear fruit in the neighborhood, bringing back its respectability and driving out undesirable elements. The new owners’ success also proves that buildings and neighborhoods in economically challenged areas can gain new life through investment and committed rehabilitation efforts.
Halim Family Museum of Time Glass
Cameel Halim is an experienced Evanston, Illinois, real estate investment entrepreneur who has been collecting rare timepieces and objet d’art for decades. In 2016, Cameel Halim’s long-held dream of opening a museum featuring his extensive collection is coming to fruition with the Halim Family Museum of Time & Glass. Among the featured pieces at the soon-to-open institution is a Thomas Webb & Sons cameo glass jar from the late 19th century.
One of the most well-established Victorian glasshouses, Thomas Webb & Sons maintained a location in Stourbridge, England. At the studio, the brothers Thomas and George Woodall were particularly known for their production of classically inspired cameo glass. This style of glass came to popularity in the early 19th century, as craftsmen tried to replicate a dark blue color specific to an ancient vase unearthed in a Roman sarcophagus.
It took until the 1870s until a comparable modern cameo glassmaking technique was perfected that incorporated advanced techniques such as acid etching. Today, Thomas Webb cameo glass pieces are highly sought after and known for their rich, vibrant blues, reds, and yellows.
Halim Family Museum of Time Glass
The president of CH Ventures, LLC, Cameel Halim owns and manages real estate properties all over the Chicago area. A licensed structural engineer, Cameel Halim is an antique clock enthusiast.
Nearly a decade in the making, the Halim Museum of Time & Glass at 1560 Oak Avenue in Evanston, Illinois, was recently opened by Mr. Halim. The museum exhibits some of the oldest timepieces in the world, including a 17th-century elephant clock displaying a man tied to a tree that is circled by a leopard and lion every hour, a precision longcase clock that was used at the Princeton College observatory from 1817 to 1867, and a case clock that was used by the 10th Japanese shogun from 1760 to 1786.
Also on display is an early 20th-century English skeleton clock encased in a broken glass dome that has been glued together. The dome was shattered when Germans bombed London during World War II. Another timepiece on display is an ancient table clock that keeps time with a marble zigzagging along a track every 30 seconds.
Halim Family Museum of Time Glass
As the head of CH Ventures, LLC, Cameel Halim guides commercial real estate investment activities spanning Illinois and Wisconsin. An avid collector of mechanical devices, Cameel Halim recently completed the construction of the four-story Halim Family Museum of Time & Glass in Evanston.
The collection includes many of the world’s finest watches and clocks, including a number of Chinese timepieces that feature ornately designed cases and often whimsical musical elements and automatons. Among the prized pieces is an Elephant Carriage clock from China that features a gilt elephant with a vase and timepiece set on its back and an imperial retinue behind it. Many of these pieces were crafted in Europe, as well as China, for the Asian market, and some pieces are from the renowned Imperial Palace Workshop.
Mr. Halim’s collection gained a serious boost in 2001, when the owner of Time Museum in the Rockford sold his collection. Initially offered to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, the collection went on sale through Sotheby’s when museum did not raise the necessary funds to obtain the collection. Many of the U.S., English, Asian, and French clocks that make up the Museum of Time & Glass’s core collection were acquired by Mr. Halim through this major auction event.