A look at the history of the famous New Year Ball Drop in Times Square, New York.

The New Year Times Square Ball was organised by owner of The New York Times, Adolph Ochs. He hired sign designer company Artkraft Strauss to construct an electrically lit ball which featured 100 incandescent light bulbs. The first ball drop took place in 1907 to celebrate the 1908 year beginning.

In 1920 the original ball was replaced with a new design and newer materials which was then replaced again in 1955. The ball was not lit in 1942 or 1943 due to lighting restrictions in World War 2.

In 1981, the ball was made to look like an apple – the symbol of New York – by featuring red light bulbs and a green stem. The original white light bulbs were put back in 1989 but then replaced again with red, white and blue light bulbs in 1991 to salute the troops of Operation Desert Shield (Gulf War).

In 1995 the ball’s lighting was replaced by 180 halogen light bulbs,144 strobe lights and 12,000 rhinestones. All part of all computerized lighting system.

A new ball was put in place for the millennium which contained 600 halogen light bulbs, 504 triangle shaped crystal panels, 96 strobe lights and pyramid shaped mirrors.

The New Years Eve Ball was again replaced in 2008. It uses LED lamps provided by Philips which can produce up to 16,777,216 colours. They have computerized lighting patterns that were developed by New York City lighting firm Focus Lighting. The ball consisted of 9,576 energy efficient light bulbs and consumed the same amount of electricity as 10 toasters. The current ball was put in place in 2009, it is twice the size of the previous NYE Ball and is lit by 32,256 LED lamps. The numbers atop of the ball that indicate the year are lit by Philips Hue LED light bulbs which are also computerized.

Images Courtesy of TimesSquareBall.net

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