The chime candle seems to have its’ origin closely linked with that of the Angel Chime and the Christmas Pyramid. Chime candles being used to provide a source of warm air to drive a small “turbine-fan” (or impeller) to power the movement of a mechanism.
The Christmas pyramid is believed to have originated from Germany and is a pyramid, constructed as a multi-tier carousel, with tableau on each level depicting a Christian scene. At the base of the pyramid are a number of chime candles which, when lit, causes warm air to rise and turn an impeller fan connected to the carousel, rotating the tableaus on each level.
Christmas pyramids are thought to date back to the Middle Ages in Germany and are still used today as Christmas decorations in many parts of the world. Traditionally, Christmas pyramids are manufactured from wood, with the more expensive versions being hand crafted and powered by chime candles.
The angel chime is believed to be a later development of the Christmas pyramid, typically being manufactured from pressed metal and hence being more appropriate for mass production. The angel chime is typically constructed with a simple pressed metal impeller fan, similar to the wooden version on the Christmas pyramid, which, when powered by the warm air from the chime candles, causes a set of angels to “fly” round and strike one or more fixed bells to create a soothing “tinkling” chime sound, hence the name chime candles.
Versions of the angel chime are available that are powered by tea lights and other small candles, however, the use of chime candles is still very popular, with typically four chime candles being used to provide the warm air to power the angel chime.
Angel chimes are also known by other names, including; angel-abras, Christmas chimes and Christmas tree chimes. Versions of the angel chime are also available with symbols and characters, other than angels, which rotate and ring the bells.
Chime candles are available in a number of colours, however, for Christmas the most popular colours for chime candles is red, white and gold.