History of Famous Times Square Ball Drop
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 | Daniel Walters

Every year on December 31st, billions of eyes around the globe are watching with enchanting gazes cast upon on the dazzling Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. At exactly 11:59:40 p.m., the Times Square Ball begins its dramatic descent as millions of people gathered in Times Square chant the countdown during the final 20 seconds of the year.  As the fireworks explode, everyone embraces their significant other with a special Midnight Kiss welcoming the New Year. The sky is filled with millions of pieces of confetti to commemorate and reign in the New Year, making new resolutions and wishes of what it will bring.

The tradition of the ball Drop has been a part of NYC's New Year’s Eve festivities since the early 19th century. However, NYC has not always been a part of this NYE tradition. Back in 1833, the first “time ball dropping” was installed on top of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, which was used a symbol of the passage of time.But ever since Adolf S. Ochs, the owner of the former New York Times building called One Times Square, began hosting rooftop celebrations to ring in the New Year in 1904, Times Square has become the worldwide NYE epicenter.

In its first year, nearly 200,000 people showed up for the celebration. Exactly three years later, in 1907, Ochs wanted to capitalize on his success by adding a “time ball” attached to a flag pole above the building, which gave rise to the city's first ball dropping ceremony,which has become the universal symbol of welcoming in the coming year.  

Ball Drop Milestones:

  • In 1907, the first Time Square Ball, a geodesic sphere, was constructed of wood and iron, decorated with 100 25-watt light bulbs. It was approximately 5 feet in diameter and weighed close to 700 pounds. The original designer was Jacob Starr, a young Russian metalworker, who later founded a sign making company called Artkraft Strauss, which became responsible for lowering the ball for most of the twentieth century. 
  • In 1920, they replaced the first ball with a new one made entirely of wrought iron, weighing in at 400 pounds. In 1955, it was replaced yet again with an aluminum rendition, which weighed 150 pounds less. This aluminum ball played its part in the tradition until 1980
  • In 1981, the city came up with a more original marketing campaign entitled “I Love New York” which incorporated red lights with a green stem, giving onlookers the impression of an apple.
  • In 1988, the ball makes its return to traditional white lights. 
  • In 1995, the ball becomes modernized with computer controls, strobes, rhinestones and a new aluminum skin. 
  • To commemorate the millennium year of 2000, New York City felt inclined to do something special and thus, comissioned Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting. These two company’s combined cutting edge lighting technology and traditional motifs.  
  • 2007 marked the 100 year anniversary of the Times Square Ball Drop, which suggested the creation of something even more spectacular. The city upgraded the out of date halogen light bulbs with state-of-the-art LED lights which improved and extended the color possibilities in addition to how bright the ball could shine.
  • In 2015, the ball at 12 ft wide, now includes new diamond cuts, advanced LED lighting and includes even more colors and light emissions, weighing in at almost 12,000 pounds, embossed in 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles attached to 672 LED modules that are secured into the ball’s frame. The ball is lit up with a total of 32,256 LEDs of white, green, blue, red, which creates a kaleidoscope effect of more than 16 million colors and billions of pattern variations.
  • The only years that the ball did not drop was during the WW2, wartime in 1942 and 1943, which it was suspended and a “dimout” of the lights was applied. This did not stop the crowds from gathering in Times Square. However, onlookers celebrated the New Year with a minute of silence followed by a ringing of chimes from sound trucks that were parked around the base of the tower. 

This brings us up to 2016 and while the official Times Square New Year’s Eve schedule has not been announced yet, we do know that the NYE celebration will feature famous musical performances, balloons, handouts, confetti, color pyrotechnic display and over one million people. This is something that you do not want to miss. Do you want to experience NYE in style?  Get your official Times Square Ball Drop Party Pass, You will be able to party like VIP rock star inside multiple exclusive events.