History Of The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop In Times Square
The New Year’s Eve Ball drop in Times Square is a fun tradition that we look forward to with each coming year.
The lighted ball is such a bright and meaningful symbol for ringing in the new year and has been around since 1907. The event in Times Square has a unique history that has led us to the celebration we know and love today.
Timeline Of The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
The New Year’s Eve ball has gone through quite the transformation throughout the years, but the one thing that never really changed is the idea of celebration and rejoice for ringing in the new year. From the first ball that was created to the one that we know today, here is a timeline of this fun annual tradition.
1907 – 1908: The First New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
New Year’s Eve celebrations and parties started happening in Times Square several years before 1907 but the ball drop first took place to ring in the year of 1908.
The first New Year’s Eve ball was quite different from the one we know today. This one was made out of iron and wood and weighed about 700 pounds. Lit up by 25-watt light bulbs, the first ball was raised to ring in the new year at midnight.
1920: The New Year’s Eve Ball Was Replaced For The First Time
The original ball remained unchanged until 1920 when an entirely new one was created. The new ball was made completely out of wrought iron and weighed 400 pounds, much lighter than the original one.
1942 – 1943: The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Was Put On Hold
Due to the war during this time period, New York City’s lights were completely dimmed out. This meant that the New Year’s ball drop ceremony was suspended, making it the only time in history that the ball was not dropped.
Despite the ceremony suspension, people still acknowledged the new year in Times Square by gathering for a moment of silence followed by the sound of ringing chimes.
1950’s – 2000’s: The New Year’s Eve Ball Went Through Many Physical Changes
1955: In 1955, the New Year’s Eve ball was replaced for a second time and weighed even less. This time, it was crafted out of aluminum, weighing in at only 150 pounds.
1980’s: From 1981 to 1988, New York launched an “I Love New York” marketing campaign that was implemented into the ball’s appearance. The ball was transformed into an apple with red light bulbs and a green stem to represent the city’s nickname, “The Big Apple”. The ball returned to its normal state of white lights after the campaign ended.
1995: The New Year’s Eve ball got a slight physical modification this year with a fresh aluminum skin and the addition of over 12,000 rhinestones. A computer system was also implemented to control the lights on the ball and give off a more spectacular lights show.
2000 – 2007: The milestone celebration of the new millennium in 2000 called for a fourth version of the ball to be created. This one included even more light bulbs, strobe lights, triangle shaped crystal panels, and spinning pyramid mirrors.
The triangle panels were inscribed with different “hope” themed designs each year to inspire a positive outlook on the new year. In 2002, the triangle panels were engraved to remember those who were affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This fourth version of the ball, along with the changing themes, stayed through 2007.
2008 – Present: The New Year’s Eve Ball Became Even More Spectacular
In 2008, another big change happened to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the ball drop. The fifth ball weighed 1,212 pounds and used special LED lamps. It was controlled by a computer program to provide a unique and magical lighting pattern. This magnificent version of the ball was only used to ring in 2008 and then was put on display in the Times Square Visitors Center.
In 2009, they crafted a bigger version of the 2008 ball, the one that we know today. It’s twice as wide as the previous one and it weighs 11,875 pounds. It was crafted with weatherproof materials because this ball was to remain outside on display all year long.
The tradition of yearly themes for the ball continued on throughout these years and carries on as we celebrate each new year to come.
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