Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time Square New Year's Eve Ball

It all began in 1907 when the first ball dropped slowly down a iron flag pole just before midnight on New Years Eve at 1 Time Square. The ball, made of iron and wood and covered with 100 25 watt bight bulbs, weighed 700 pounds and was five feet in diameter and was constructed by immigrant metal worker Jacob Starr.

From that moment on it became a tradition all the world would watch in the last remaining minutes of each year. The streets of Time Square in NYC would fill with thousands upon thousands of people to gaze upon the white glowing ball as it descends down a flag pole at 11:59 pm on December 31.

The only time the glowing ball didn't come down the iron pole would be in the years 1942-43 when the country was at war and NYC was practicing wartime "dim-outs". Those years would find "sound trucks" alarming chimes at the base of 1 Time Square to ring in the new year.

The ball changed throughout the years. In 1920, a 400 pound ball made entirely of iron replaced the original.

In 1955 that ball was replaced by one made of aluminum and weighed 200 pounds.

In 1980 the white lights on the glowing ball were replaced with red lights so the ball would appear to be a huge apple and the pole was painted green. This was done to celebrate the I Love NY campaign. In 1988 they changed the red lights back to the traditional white lights.

The biggest change came in 1999 when the ball was completely replaced by one by Waterford Crystal to celebrate the new millennium.

This year we will see a whole new ball fall in Time Square. The new ball is 12 feet across and weighs nearly 12 thousand pounds. It is covered with 2,668 waterford crystals and powered by 32, 256 LEDS. This will make it able to show over 16 million colors and billions of different patterns.

Trivia: The ball dropping to signal the passage of time dates back to a "time ball" atop of England's Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. The ball would drop at 1:00 every afternoon, allowing the captains of near by ships to precisely set their chronometers (a navigational instrument). This was where the idea of dropping a ball from a pole to signal a moment of time came from.

Below is a couple of pictures of the 'new" Time Square Ball.


Argentum Vulgaris said...

Happy New Year Rick, I can understand the hype of Times Square, we have the same thing here at Copacabana Beach, post on my blog about that.


SeƱor said...

Nice balls my friend!