Angel chimes

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Angel chimes

Angel chimes also known as angel-abra are a form of Christmas decoration popular in Europe and North America.[1] Apparently from the same origins as the Christmas pyramid, which functions on the same principle. They differ from these, primarily, in being mass-produced from metal and featuring bell-ringing angels, whereas Christmas pyramids are usually crafted from wood and don't necessarily have bells.

In 2007, a rare 1920s metal Christmas angel chime tree topper was auctioned online through eBay.[2] Its box was labeled "electric chimes".

Function[edit]

Angel chimes have candle holders at the base which provide heat which turns a turbine at the top, which powers a series of trumpet-holding angel figures which "fly" around in a circle, striking bells beneath them. Aside from this, they usually have other decorative motifs, such as the Star of Bethlehem or a creche.

History[edit]

The form patented in 1905.

The angel chimes tradition started in the United States about 100 years ago[3] when immigrant families brought along German angel chimes. The earliest known patent for an angel chime was filed by Walter Stock of the German toy firm Adrian & Stock.[4] The pre-World War II German-made chimes were usually made of tin and featured lithography.

In Sweden[edit]

Christmas angel chimes are popularly known as "änglaspel" (angel carillon) in Sweden.[5] After World War II, Swedish-made chimes became popular in both Europe and North America. These brought a simpler aesthetic in brass.

In Denmark[edit]

They are known as "Engle Spil" (Angel Bells) in Denmark.

In Asia[edit]

More recently, angel chimes manufactured in China has come to dominate the export market. The design now includes spinning candles.

In popular culture[edit]

There are a number of songs written about angel chimes, which include Angel's song, the Christmas Chimes. The sheet music has been compiled at the performing arts encyclopedia[6] of the United States Library of Congress up to the present day.

Nina Raine uses Angel Chimes in her play, Rabbit

References[edit]