Gallery Page One:
Adrian & Stock and the Origins of
the "Angel Chime"
Adrian & Stock
(Paul Hartkopf, successor)
The firm of Adrian
& Stock of Solingen, Germany, well-known makers of lithographed tin
toys and other articles, can be called the father of the modern
angel chime. Although
the Stock company
did not invent
the candle chime, it appears to have been the first
to patent the rotating angel design, and the first to use
the term "angel chime" ("Engelgeläute"
For more information on
Adrian & Stock and its line of toys and candle chimes, I recommend the
book Schweinekutsche und Gänseliesel: Geschichte und Spielzeuge der Firma
Walter Stock, Solingen, by Hans Schulte-Kellinghaus (Hilden:
Borch-Druck Verlag KG, ),
and I would like to acknowledge the usefulness of this study in
composing the following section.
The numbering used in this section was adapted by
Hans Schulte-Kellinghaus from Adrian & Stock's own inventory system.
“Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut, Posaunenchor mit der Geburt
Christi" (Angel-Christmas-Chime, Trumpet Choir with Nativity) (39 x 16 cm.)
Walter Stock, of the firm of Adrian & Stock, took out a
series of patents
on his design for a “Geläut,” or chime, showing virtually
all the familiar elements of today’s Christmas candle
chimes. His patent drawing (right) includes the “floating angels”
carrying bell-clappers, the trumpeting angel at top, and the
collapsible tripod candle- and bell-holders, which were
designed to fold into a relatively small box. Described below
are the two earliest Stock designs produced from the 1905
patent. Elaborately designed and cleverly made, they feature
die-cut candle supports of nickel-plated tin, a lithographed
nativity scene in low relief, and a large and imposing set of gilded angel
launch of this chime was announced with some fanfare, as
demonstrated by contemporary advertisements appearing in the magazine
The ads describe the chime in
detail, praising its novel design, sturdy construction, and
The box is printed with the splendid name of
this inaugural effort: “Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut, Posaunenchor
mit der Geburt Christi” (Angel-Christmas-Chime, Trumpet
Choir with Nativity). The box also carries the Adrian & Stock
name and logo, a practice which was soon discontinued for
most of the Stock line of chimes. While
impressive, the angel figures on this first Stock chime were
heavy, and tended to unbalance the mechanism; this may account for the short lifespan of this
model. As we’ll see, the essential elements of later “Swedish pattern” candle chimes derive
directly from these early 20th century models produced by
Adrian & Stock.
“Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut," Standard Model
standard model of the
featured a lithographed nativity scene within a gilt star.
The box for
this example is
letterpress-printed in black and white,
which may indicate a relatively late production date. But it
is in beautiful original and unrestored condition, complete
with all its original packing and promotional material.
No. 0b: "Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut,"
The deluxe version of the
included an added group of chromo-lithographed figures in
the foreground, giving a 3D effect to the Nativity scene.
This example is also accompanied by the rare instruction sheet.
some point after patenting its Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut
in 1905, and before it went out of production ca.
1910, Adrian & Stock introduced this non-chiming
candle-powered whirligig, featuring the same
trumpeting angel element found on the Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut.
It was meant to be clipped to the branches of a
I have yet to discover an advertisement for this
fascinating little gadget.
“Engelsgeläut” (Angel Chime) (31 x 16 cm.)
Adrian & Stock had embarked on a full line of angel chimes,
with the original “Posaunenchor mit der Geburt Christi” chime,
redesigned and simplified, designated as “No. 1” of an
expanding series. As redesigned, the
angels are smaller, the candle holder is reduced to a simple
platform, the bell supports are cheaply formed of wire, and
the nativity scene is printed flat, on a single sheet of tin.
A variant of this chime, offered without the lithographed
nativity scene, is labeled “No. 4½” in Stock catalogues of the
1920s. Two boxes are illustrated below, neither of which names
on the left identifies the chime as “No. 610,” indicating
that it was probably marketed by a firm other than Stock.
The box on the right, with “Made in Germany” on the lid, and
accompanied by an instruction sheet in English, indicates that
it was meant for the British and/or American markets. Note
also the illustration of the chime taken from a 1927 German
Christmas catalogue, priced at 1 Mark 5 Pfennigs.
“Krippe mit Engelgeläut” (Nativity with Angel Chime)
Among the rarest and most interesting of the
Stock Christmas chimes is this combination “Krippe mit
Engelgeläut” (Nativity scene with angel chime), or, as it is
often labelled on original boxes, "Weihnachts-Krippe"
(Christmas Nativity Scene). Unlike most
of the Adrian & Stock chimes,
No. 2 was intended for
tabletop use only, or for display beneath a Christmas tree.
Originally produced ca. 1910, by the 1920s there were two
versions of this chime.
In this, the earlier and cheaper model No. 2A, a standard
angel chime sits atop a nativity scene of lithographed tin,
with cutouts of the kings and shepherds; motive power for
the impeller is provided by two candles in front, and two
behind. The illustrations below include an example of the chime; two boxes
(the one on the left probably dating from the
launch of the chime ca. 1910, the one on the right from the
1920s); the original 1910 instruction sheet; and a page from a 1927 German Christmas catalogue, showing the
chime priced at 1 Mark 95 Pfennigs. Note that in the
catalogue illustration the chime has been assembled
incorrectly: the two central candle holders ought to be at
(30 x 22 cm.,
x 9 cm.)
In the more elaborate and expensive model 2B, two candles ingeniously suspended behind the façade
power the impeller, which moves not only the angels above,
but also a carousel of the Three Kings below, so that they
seem to pass in procession before the Holy Family. The illustrations
show an example from the 1920s, which features a
colorful ring of lithograph angels instead of a plain
impeller, and a base designed as a holder for candy or
chocolate. The name of the wholesaler (bicycle manufacturer
August Stukenbrok) appears on the box, but the Stock name
does not: a marketing ploy which allowed Stock to expand
their market for these and other toys. This example includes the rare original instruction sheet. (32 x 22 cm.,
base = 22 x 8 cm.)
6: “Engelsgeläut” (Angel Chime) (33.5 x 15 cm.)
Below are three examples of the standard “cheap”
offered beginning in the 1920s, and produced by the Stock
firm and its successor Paul Hartkopf well into the 1960s. All of them re-use
the central star motif originally designed for the 1905 "“Engel-Weihnachts-Geläut"
features a variant of the standard Stock
lithographed Nativity scene in the central star ornament,
and gold angels. The
illustrations include a woodcut of this chime, reproduced
from a 1929 Adrian & Stock catalogue. The design of
the box dates this example to the 1940s or 1950s.
features a Father Christmas or
“Weihnachtsmann” figure accompanied by cherubs, and silver
"floating angels." This example was probably also
produced by Stock's successor Paul Hartkopf in the 1940s or
later and even cheaper variant of the No. 3
series, having only two
candles, and a simple, round baseplate instead of folding
wire candle-holders. As the box indicates, this particular
chime was imported to
the US by the Shackman company of New York. The instruction
sheet states "W.-Germany," which dates the chime to sometime
after WWII, and thus to the period of Stock's successor Paul Hartkopf.
No. 5: “Weihnachtsgeläute” (Christmas Chimes) (32 x 18 cm.)
By the 1920s, the original Stock Engelgeläut
had diversified into a range of forms, of which model series
No. 5 was the most elaborate. It came in two versions:
The fancier of the two models (usually
designated simply as “No. 5”) featured two pairs of chimes,
and an impeller incorporating a ring of lithographed angels,
with a banner announcing in German, “Glory to God in the
Highest.” The colorful lithographic nativity scene is
adapted from the “Krippe mit
Engelgeläut” model series No. 2. The illustration at right below is reproduced from a 1931 German toy catalogue, courtesy of fellow collector Eva Friedrich.
No. 5A, illustrated below, was a simpler and
cheaper version of No. 5. It had only two chimes, and it used the standard
Stock impeller and angels. Some boxes for chime No. 5A
incorporate the rarely-seen stamped Adrian & Stock logo,
partly visible at upper right in the photo second from the
right below. Because Adrian &
Stock distributed their chimes through a number of different Solingen firms, the Stock name and mark is generally not
found on the pieces, or their packaging.
“Knusperhäuschen” (Gingerbread House) (26.5 x 22 cm., base =
22 x 8 cm.)
Also dating from the 1920s, this Stock chime
story of Hänsel and Gretel,
which in Germany is strongly associated with
the Christmas season — an association echoed in America, by
the way, in the holiday
popularity of gingerbread houses. The design is very similar
to that of the elaborate Nativity chime No. 2B, but here the impeller powers a
tableau in which the old witch chases the children in and
out of the Gingerbread House. Like No. 2B, this chime also
has a candy-box base. The base is usually found in plain
green; this variant has an attractive lithograph pattern of
grass, flowers and mushrooms. Examples like this, in as-new condition
with an original box, are a rare survival. Also shown is a
reproduction from the 1910 Stock toy catalogue, showing an
earlier, non-chiming version of this toy, not in my
collection — yet.
Adrian & Stock firm was bought out in 1933 by
Hartkopf, who continued production of selected Stock angel
chime models (notably No. 5A, and the cheap versions of
No. 3) until the late 1960s. At the dissolution of
the Paul Hartkopf company a large number of these chimes
remained unsold, and have since found their way into the
turn up quite often on eBay, in as-new condition, and in
For More Pictures and Information,
Introduction & History
Gallery Page One
Adrian & Stock and the Origins of
the "Angel Chime"
Other Pre-WWII Chimes
"Swedish Pattern" and
Other Post-WWII Angel
Please note: the chimes
illustrated on this site are from the
collection, and they are not for sale. For those wanting to
particular chimes illustrated here, eBay is the best source. The
author welcomes comments, additions and corrections, particularly
information on manufacturers and variant models, as well
as advertisements and entries
in contemporary catalogs.