A French clock depicts Cupid stealing an hourglass from Father Time—because when love comes, time stops. An Asian timepiece has fierce animals circling meek missionaries. And a museum of American clocks proves that efficient manufacturing existed before Henry Ford’s assembly line.
They’re bits of history you can see now that one of the world’s largest collections of rare and historic clocks has gone public in Evanston, Illinois. The Halim Time and Glass Museum showcases more than 1,000 timekeeping devices, along with stained-glass windows rising two stories high.
Why clocks and glass in a single institution? The answer lies in Cameel Halim, an engineer who emigrated from Egypt to Chicago in the 1960s and made his fortune in real estate, amassing the two collections along the way. He and his family call the museum their gift to the city. Guides and horologists—experts in the craft and science of measuring time—offer engaging narratives about the works of engineering and art displayed in the sleek five-story building. They also make sure the timepieces sound only at their command. Despite what one might expect in a clock museum, the only cuckoo cacophonies here are planned.
Photos: Ward Henline