You’ve seen the New Year’s Eve ball drop year after year, but how much do you actually know about it? What’s it made of? How does it get that kaleidoscope effect?
The tradition of lowering the New Year’s Eve ball began in 1907 with a 700 pound ball, made out of iron and wood, and covered in a modest 100 25-watt light bulbs. Over the past 103 years, the world-famous ball has undergone seven transformations to today’s impressive 11,875 pound-version, with over 30,000 LED lights and thousands of Waterford Crystal adornments.
Impress your friends at your New Year’s Eve bash with these fun facts about the world famous ball and its evolution through the years from Countdown Entertainment, which produces the Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration along with the Times Square Alliance.
1. The ball is a geodesic sphere, 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 pounds.
2. The ball is covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles, which are bolted to 672 LED modules on the aluminum frame.
3. The ball is illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED modules. Each LED module contains 48 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs — 12 red, 12 blue, 12 green, and 12 white for a total of 8,064 of each color.
4. The ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns.
5. The first New Year’s Eve Ball lowering celebration atop One Times Square was in 1907. It was made of iron and wood, weighed 700 pounds, and was covered with 100 light bulbs.
6. Over the past 103 years, seven versions of the ball have been designed to ring in the New Year.
7. In 1920, a 400-pound iron Ball replaced the iron and wood Ball.
8. In 1955, a 150-pound aluminum Ball with 180 light bulbs replaced the iron Ball.
9. In 1995, the aluminum Ball was upgraded with aluminum skin, rhinestones, and computer controls.
10. In 1999, the crystal New Year’s Eve Ball was created to welcome the new millennium.
11. For the Ball’s 100th Anniversary in 2001, the light bulbs of the past were replaced with modern LED technology.
12. In 2008, the permanent Big Ball was unveiled atop One Times Square where it sparkles above Times Square throughout the year.