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History of the New Year’s Eve Ball
With New Year’s Eve approaching, I thought it would be interesting to write about the History of the New Year’s Eve Ball. Do you know how many lights make up the New Year’s Eve Ball?
The first celebration of New Year’s Eve in Time Square was in 1904. But, the ball did not make its first appearance until 1907 in Time Square. The first ball was made by Jacob Starr. Jacob was an immigrant metalworker who designed the ball with one hundred 25 watt bulbs. The ball was 5 feet in diameter, weighed 700 lbs and was made of iron and wood. Jacob founded the company Artkraft Strauss, the company made the Time Square Ball for a majority of the Twentieth Century.
During the 1907-1908 New Year’s celebrations, waiters in hotel restaurants around Time Square were supplied with hats that were battery operated with tiny lights on the front of the hat that said 1908. At midnight, they all flipped their hats to light up 1908 to ring in the New Year.
Since 1907 the ball has been lowered every year except 1942 and 1943 due to wartime. Crowds still did gathered in Time Square, instead of the ball lighting up and dropping, the crowd had a minute of silence, followed by ringing chimes from sound trucks.
1955, the iron ball was replaced with aluminum weighing only 150 lbs. The ball remained this way until 1981, when red light bulbs with green stems were added to make the ball an apple and light up the words “I Love New York”. After 7 years, in 1988, the ball returned to white light bulbs at the end of the marketing of the red apple. The ball was upgraded again in 1995 with aluminum skins, rhinestones and strobe lights. I would think the red apple with green stems would be one of the best balls, just because it symbolize New York City as the Big Apple.
Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting designed the ball in 2000. The millennium celebration in 2000, the ball was made of crystals and had the latest in lighting technology. The ball was also made with traditional materials to remind everyone of the past but to look into the future. Over 600 halogen bulbs, 96 strobe lights and 504 triangular crystal panels was used to make this newly designed ball.
The 100th anniversary (Big Ball), was in 2007. Waterford Crystals and Philips Lighting designed an LED crystal ball. The old bulbs where replaced with Philips Luxeon LED. This time the ball was 6 feet in diameter and weighed 1200 pounds. The unique addition to the Big Ball was multicolored LEDs controlled by computer lightening patterns.
Building owners of One Time Square built a permanent Big Ball. The building owners loved this design so much it is now on display year around for the public and tourist to see.
The last upgrade that was done to the ball was in 2014. Panels on the ball were replaced with a theme called “Greatest Gifts Series”. The only other upgrade was in 2016, Waterford Crystals added 288 new crystals featuring starburst designs around a center point for the theme of the “Gift of Wonder”, part of the Greatest Gift Series.
Facts About The Time Square Ball
- The ball is geodesic sphere, 12 ft diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds.
- Ball is covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal Triangles, varying in size from 4 3/4 to 5 3/4 inches per side.
- The 2,688 Waterford Crystal Triangles are connected to 672 LED modules.
- There is 32,256 LEDs. Each LED module has 48 LEDs. 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green and 12 white. There is a total of 8064 of each color.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the history of the New Year’s Eve Ball as I had researching it. With advancement in technology it will be interesting to see if there is any new changes for 2020 and the next decade.
Happy New Year’s Everyone!