Cameel Halim is a Chicago-based real estate entrepreneur who oversaw the recent opening of the Halim Time & Glass Museum (halimmuseum.org). The museum offers visitors an encyclopedic collection of timepieces and stained glass spanning three centuries. Egyptian-born, Cameel Halim has had from childhood a passion for timepieces and a fascination with clock mechanisms.
One major 17th century innovation in clockmaking involved the addition of the pendulum, which controlled the escapement through a freely swinging motion that maintained its own defined period. Invented by Christiaan Huygens of the Netherlands in 1656, the patented pendulum clock led to the creation of the first astronomical regulator and dials that indicated time accurately down to the second.
The mechanism was perfected in England through lengthening the pendulum and reducing its arc of swing. This in turn required the development of an entirely new escapement. Air resistance was minimized through placing a convex, double-sided disc weight at the bottom of the pendulum, giving it its familiar traditional shape. In the 17th century, the longcase, or grandfather clock, was developed as a way of protecting the lengthy pendulum.
As the president of CH Ventures LLC, Cameel Halim overses a portfolio of real estate properties across Illinois and Wisconsin in addition to over 200 full time employees. An avid clock collector, Cameel Halim also serves as a founder of the Halim Time & Glass Museum located in Evanston, Illinois.
Since September 2017, the Halim Time & Glass Museum has allowed the public to view a private collection of rare timepieces and stained glass art. The Evanston, Illinois-based museum and its collection were featured in a recent Daily Northwestern article that discusses the opening of the facility, the restored stained glass pieces, and the collection of clocks that range from mechanical clocks to Egyptian sundials.
Sundials, the oldest known timekeeping devices, utilize shadows created by the sun to indicate the time of day. The earliest type of sundial was likely a gnomon, a vertical stick that cast a shadow of varying lengths when struck by the sun. This design was featured in the earliest known sundial, an Egyptian shadow clock that included a base with six time divisions. Another early form of sundial was the hemispherical sundial, also known as a hemicycle. Featuring a cubic design, the hemicycle produced a shadow that moved in a circular arc with the help of a hemispherical opening and a pointer.
Additional information on the Halim Time & Glass Museum’s collection can be found at www.halimmuseum.org.
Halim Time and Glass Museum
Cameel Halim is a well established Chicago area real estate executive who guides CH Ventures, LLC. With a longstanding passion for timepieces and objects of art, Cameel Halim and his wife recently opened the doors of the Halim Time and Glass Museum.
An October 2017, Daily Northwestern article described the Evanston, Illinois museum as offering a “step back in time,” with its colorful corridors filled with antique stained glass and exquisite clocks. In all, some 1,100 timepieces from locales around the world reside in the collection. The first floor is dedicated to stained glass windows and provides examples of some of the finest pieces from the American school.
The museum’s second floor is home to the diverse array of timepieces that range from those commissioned by Catherine the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte to Egyptian sundials. Also included are timekeeping devices such as automatons, chronometers, pocket watches, and tower clocks. The unique value proposition presented by the museum is that it represents a rare private collection spanning the breadth of the full history of timekeeping, in a way that ties together cultural and economic narratives.
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.
A structural engineer and real estate entrepreneur, Cameel Halim has worked to revitalize neighborhoods and preserve historic homes throughout the Chicago area. In 2005, Cameel Halim was involved in a deal that prevented the demolition of a beautiful home designed by the firm of Daniel H. Burnham.
Born in 1846, Daniel H. Burnham was a famed Chicago architect who is credited with being the father of the modern skyscraper. Burnham’s architectural career began in 1872 in the Chicago office of Carter, Drake, and Wight, where he worked as a draftsman and met his future business partner, John Wellborn Root. Together, the two men designed several well-known Chicago buildings, including the Rookery, the Reliance Building, and the Montauk Building, before Root’s early death in 1891.
Later, Burnham served as the chief coordinating architect of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and coauthored the Plan of Chicago, which formed the basis of city planning in Chicago and other cities across the United States. Burnham also founded the Chicago School of Architecture and served as president of the American Institute of Architects. His best-known work outside of Chicago includes New York’s Flatiron Building and Union Station in Washington.