The ball drop in on December 31 in Times Square New York is synonymous with the beginning of the New Year. While the celebrations at Times Square has been celebrated annually since 1904, it wasn’t until 1907 when the ball was introduced, except for 1942 and 1943 to observe wartime blackouts.
The New Years Eve celebration and the ball drop in Times Square is a highly publicized event and is broadcast nationally. Over 1 million make the pilgrimage to Times Square to watch the ball drop and millions more watch all over the world.
Throughout the years, the ball has improved and evolved to showcase the technological advances that have been made over time. To this day, there have been four balls used during the celebration.
The original New Year’s Eve ball was in used from 1907-1919. The 700 lb structure had a diameter of 5 feet. It was made of iron and wood and lit with 100 25-watt incandescent bulbs.
By 1920, the original New Year’s Eve ball was replaced by a new design. The new ball weighed in at a significantly lower weight at 400 lbs and was constructed solely of iron, but the diameter remained at 5 feet.
The ball had a slight makeover in 1955 when it was redesigned again to be made of aluminium to bring the total weight down to 150 lbs, but the kept the same 5 feet diameter. Typically, the ball used one light bulbs, but would change for special themes or circumstances. In 1995, the ball was updated to have a computerized lighting system. 180 Halogen lights, 144 strobe lights and 12,000 rhinestones were added to make the ball shine brighter than it has in the past.
The fourth ball was used during 1999-2007 and was redesigned to ring in the new millennium. It was designed by Waterford Crystal and weighed in at 1,070 pounds with a diameter of 6 feet. The new ball had 600 halogen bulbs, over 500 crystal planes, strobe lights and spinning pyramid shaped mirrors.
For the centennial celebration in 2008 Waterford Crystal again designed the new ball and again it had a diameter of 6 feet and weighed 1,212 lbs. The lighting aspect for the ball is the most modern and progressive out of all of the balls. It uses 9,576 energy efficient LED bulbs that consume the same amount of electricity as a toaster. That specific ball was only used once.
From 2009 and on, a icosahedral geodesic ball by Waterford Crystal was introduced. It incorporated 32,256 LED light bulbs, 2,688 crystal panels, had a diameter of 12 feet and weighed a total of 11,875.