With the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square set to take place in just a few hours — here are five interesting facts about the iconic long-running event in the Big Apple!
According to the Times Square website, the New Year’s Eve event began in 1904, but it was in 1907 when the ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole above One Times Square. Since then, seven versions of the Ball have been designed to signal the New Year.
“The first New Year’s Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs,” the website reads. “[It] was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. It was built by a young immigrant metalworker named Jacob Starr, and for most of the twentieth century the company he founded, sign maker Artkraft Strauss, was responsible for lowering the Ball.”
Another interesting fact is, the Ball has been lowered down the pole every year, except for 1942 and 1943. This is due to the New Year’s ceremony being suspended. This is due to the World War II “dimout” of lights in New York City.
The New Year’s Eve Ball was completely redesigned for Time Square 2000. The Crystal Ball included the latest lighting technology but had the most traditional of materials. “Reminding us of our past as we gazed into the future and the beginning of a new millennium,” the website continues.
The New Year’s Eve Ball Was Redesigned with LED Technology for the 100th Anniversary
Since 2007, the New Year’s Eve Ball has included new LED technology. This was for the drop’s 100th anniversary. It was noted that the incandescent and halogen bulbs from the previous design were replaced by state-of-the-art Philips Luxeon LED lighting. This noticeably increased the brightness and color capabilities.
The ball is 12 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 11,875 pounds. It is covered with a total of 2,688 crystal triangles. The triangles vary in size between 4 ¾ inches to 5 ¾ inches.
“Each crystal triangle has a special sparkling pattern,” the Times Square website explains. “192 crystal triangles are the Gift of Love design of overlapping hearts entwined together symbolizing love for family and friends.”
It is also said that around 150 public time balls are believed to have been installed around the world. The first-time ball was installed atop England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1933. It would drop at one o’clock every afternoon.
The Ball will begin its descent at 11:59 p.m. local time.