The Times Square Ball drop has been around for more than 100 years. The Ball has since lost some weight (only to gain it back) and has gained some updated lighting to attract up to one million people each New Year’s Eve.

Have a ball!
The New York Times headquarters relocates to 229 W. 43rd St., but the tradition carried on.

News and events — visually

The first Ball descends at One Times Square from a flagpole. The Ball, made from wood and iron, weighs 700 pounds and has a diameter of five feet. The Ball was made by Walter F. Palmer, the chief electrician for The New York Times per request of publisher Adolph Ochs (pictured) who wanted to create a spectacular midnight show, drawing attention to the Square.

For its 100th anniversary, the ball gets a bit of a makeover. The Ball is basically the same ball used from 2000-2007, but now has a state-of-the-art programmable LED lighting system capable of producing over 16.7 million colours. The ball contains 9,567 energy-e cient bulbs which consume the same amount of electricity as only 10 toasters. Diameter: 6 feet Weight: 1,212 pounds (550 kg)

The Ball loses a couple of hundred pounds. It’s replaced with a new iron material ball weighing in at 400 pounds.

Due to risks of enemy attacks during the Second World War, the descending Ball was stopped. A moment of silence was observed at midnight.

The Ball loses another couple of hundred pounds, being replaced with an all aluminum version. This one weighed only 150 pounds.

To celebrate the I Love New York campaign, the Ball is disguised as an apple with the use of red lightbulbs and a green stem and leaf at the top.

The Ball goes back to traditional white lightbulbs, except for 1991 and 1992 when it was covered in red, white and blue bulbs to salute the troops in Operation Desert Shield.

The Ball goes high tech — it’s computerized, aluminum coated, covered in rhinestones and fitted with a strobe light system.

Waterford Crystal designs a new Ball for new millennium celebrations. The Ball comes fully equipped with 504 crystal triangles, illuminated externally with 168 halogen lightbulbs and internally with 432 lightbulbs, strobe lights and mirrors for lots of dazzle. The new design weighs a hefty 1,070 pounds and has a diameter of six feet.

The Ball is essentially the same as the 2008 Ball — only bigger, better and 20% more e cient. Diameter has been doubled to 12 feet and weighs almost 12,000 pounds. It has been incorporated with 3,500 lighting cues, all designed by Focus Lighting Inc.

The Ball has been given its annual makeover with a new crystal design theme to mark “The Year of Friendship.” The crystal pattern — made with 2,688 crystal triangles of various sizes — represents friends holding hands around the world.

Source: Wikipedia, Time

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