Every year, thousands of people in New York flock to Times Square to watch a giant crystal ball descend upon the roaring crowd at the annual celebration in New York’s Times Square. It is one of the most iconic events in the USA.
People have been celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square since 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year’s Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square. Adolph Ochs, owner of The New York Times newspaper was the first to organize this iconic event.
When the city banned the use of fireworks Adolph Ochs had to find a new way for New Yorkers to celebrate the forthcoming New Year. Ochs commissioned the building of an electrically-lit ball that was later dropped from the top of the tower.
The ball drop has been held every year since 1907 except in 1942 and 1943 in observance of wartime blackouts. But even in wartime, enormous crowds still gathered in Times Square to usher in the New Year.
The first New Year’s Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, 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 20-th century, the sign maker Artkraft Strauss was responsible for lowering the Ball in the company he founded.
The ball’s design has also been updated over the years and in 1920 the original ball was replaced with another one made solely out of iron. In 1955, the iron ball was replaced with an aluminum Ball and remained like that until the 1980s.
In 1981, the ball was revamped with red lightbulbs and a green stem to provide the appearance of an apple for the “I Love New York” marketing campaign from 1981 until 1988.
In 1995 the ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, over 12,000 rhinestones, 144 strobe lights, and a computerized lighting system, signifying the age of ubiquitous computers.
For Times Square 2000, the millennium celebration of the ball was completely redesigned by Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting, outfitted with 504 Waterford Crystals, 168 halogen bulbs, spinning mirrors, measuring 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter and weighed 1,070 pounds (490 kg).
On the 100th anniversary of the Times Square Ball Drop tradition in 2007, Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting crafted a new LED crystal Ball.
Nowadays there are normally over million people attending the iconic event at Times Square and it is estimated that over one billion people around the globe watch the ball drop each year.