Cameel Halim is a respected presence in the Chicago real estate sphere who has overseen numerous development projects that achieved urban restoration goals. Cameel Halim is currently in the process of launching the Halim Time & Glass Museum. The museum features glass pieces by noted manufacturers such as Thomas Webb & Son, as well as antique timepieces.
The pocket watch has its origins in the early 15th century, when a coiled spring was invented in Germany as a way of increasing functionality in locks. The spring quickly crossed over to the clockmaking sphere, as it allowed a device to be wound in ways that stored energy for release over an extended period.
While the main spring enabled the creation of clocks small enough to fit in the hand, it did not solve the issue of a movement that ran at a constant rate as the spring wound down. With the “Nuremberg Egg,” an egg-sized timepiece introduced around 1530, for decades time deviations each day were measured in the hours, rather than in minutes.
This all changed in 1675 with Christiaan Huygens’ invention of the “hair spring” or “balance wheel” mechanism, which absorbed energy output from the main-spring and released it at a constant rate that ultimately allowed the creation of minute hands.
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.
St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church
After he and his wife began purchasing apartment buildings in 1974, Cameel Halim successfully increased the value of his properties and eventually established CH Ventures, LLC, a business still in operation today. An active member of his community, Cameel Halim supports several local institutions, including St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church.
In 1960, a group of Egyptians came to the United States with the hope of establishing a church in the Chicagoland area. They successfully did so, initially founding St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Roselle before moving to Burr Ridge in 1982 following construction of a new church. Observing Orthodox Christianity, St. Mark’s typically unites 700 families each Sunday for service.
At each service, the church offers a liturgy with a traditional repertoire and Coptic Orthodox hymnology. During the service, parishioners pass the offering plate and are invited to make donations. The service, which lasts two hours, includes readings from a variety of tomes, including Gospels, Psalms, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Pauline Epistles.
Upon completion of the readings, parishioners listen to a sermon focusing on the Gospel of the day. The service concludes with the Holy Communion. Children are always welcome to attend the liturgy or go to Sunday School, depending upon their age.
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
Cameel Halim guides CH Ventures, LLC, and undertakes commercial real estate investments spanning Wisconsin and Illinois. For many years, Cameel Halim has collected mechanical devices such as clocks and watches and has overseen the creation of the soon-to-open Evanston institution Halim Family Museum of Time & Glass.
One of the most sought-after timepiece types is the tourbillon, which was invented by Abraham Breguet in the late 17th century and patented in 1801. With tourbillon meaning “whirlwind” in French, the mechanism features a balance wheel that spins on itself in an oscillating manner, similar to a revolving pendulum. There are single axis and multiple axis tourbillons, with the mechanism placed in a “cage” that nestles within the watch face.
The practical purpose of the tourbillon is to counteract gravity’s effects and provide accurate timekeeping. In today’s watch market, in which the chronometer has surpassed the tourbillon for accuracy, this purpose has given way to the prestige of ownership. The extremely delicate and expensive nature of the mechanism means that contemporary tourbillon watches such as the Zenith Defy Xtreme Zero G Multi-Dimensional Tourbillon Watch retail for half a million dollars.
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.