Pictured above: Times Square/Picture courtesy of FB Screen Grab©
On New Year’s Eve, millions of people from all around the globe will be focused on the dazzling Waterford CrystalTimes Square New Year’s Eve Ball. At precisely 11:59 p.m.on New Years Eve, the Ball begins its descent amidst millions of voices united in counting down the final minute of the year. In the new year ahead, there await great expectations, of hopes, dreams, and a brighter future.
What’s the actual origin of the New Year’s celebration? The history surrounding the “dropping” of a Ball signifies the passage of time dating back …long before the first New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square. The first reported “time ball” in use was at the top of England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833. The ball dropped every afternoon at one o’clock, offering sea captains of nearby ships a regular time set for their chronometers. Approximately 150 public time balls (and growing) are reported to have been installed around the world since Greenwich’s installation though these Balls have rarely survived the passage of time, let alone still operate. Today many locations throughout America continue to mark the passage of time with the descent of a Ball from a flagpole each day at noon.
So the celebratory crowds grew, and the ‘ball’ became a legendary thing of beauty…
Into this… 2012 below…
More History on the New Year’s Eve Ball
Crowds began celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York City’s Time Square during 1904. However, it was in 1907 that the New Year’s Eve ball descended from the flagpole on One Times Square. The ball was constructed of iron and wood and glowing with the light of 100 25-watt light bulbs. In total, the ball was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.
Every year since 1907, the Ball has been lowered to the delight of the gathered crowds. 1942 and 1943 were the wartime exception, however, the crowds still gathered in Times Square and celebrated the New Year with a moment of silence and chimes.
In the past years since 1907, seven versions of the Ball have been designed.
By 1920, a 400-pound Ball made of iron had replaced the original. During 1955, the iron ball was replaced with an aluminum Ball. The comparatively diminutive Ball weighed only 150 pounds. In the 1980s, the Ball became an apple with the addition of red light bulbs and a green stem.
Seven years later, the Ball with white light bulbs reappeared high above Times Square and by 1995, would be upgraded to aluminum casing, rhinestones, strobe lights, and computer controls. In 1998, the Ball was lowered for the last time.
For the millennium celebration, the New Year’s Eve ball was redesigned by Waterford Crystal. A crystal ball complete with the cutting edge technology and a few traditional materials would see the beginning of a millennium.
The millennium Ball was a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, weighing at approximately 1,070 pounds and covered with a 504 Waterford crystal triangles of various sizes.
In 2007, LED’s replaced the Ball’s light bulbs for the 100th anniversary. In 2008, the permanent Ball was unveiled where it sparkles today in anticipation of the upcoming New Year’s Eve at the magical, marvelous stroke of midnight.
Throughout this great nation of ours, America celebrates the New Year with events and an “object drop” very similar to New York City’s Times Square. Each community has adapted an aspect of their culture or history in the celebration!
Let’s take a closer look at the festivities…
Mobile, Alabama: A giant lighted Moon Pie is lowered.
Fairhope, Alabama: A ball is dropped.
Wetumpka, Alabama: A meteorite is dropped.
Fayetteville, Arkansas: A hog is dropped.
Fort Smith, Arkansas: A ball is dropped.
Orange County, California: An orange is dropped.
Temecula, California: A bunch of grapes is dropped.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida: A ball is dropped.
Panama City, Florida: A giant lighted beach ball is dropped.
Pensacola, Florida: A pelican is dropped.
Brooksville, Florida: A 200-pound tangerine is dropped.
Miami, Florida: A 35-foot orange is dropped.
Sarasota, Florida: A glowing pineapple is dropped.
Atlanta, Georgia: A Peach is dropped.
Duluth, Georgia: A disco ball called the Soaring Spirit Ball is raised.
Gainesville, Georgia: A “Chuck the Chicken” is dropped.
Macon, Georgia: A lighted ball with metal cherry blossoms and pink lights is dropped.
Savannah, Georgia: A to-go cup is dropped.
Tallapoosa, Georgia: A stuffed opossum named Spencer is dropped.
Winder, Georgia: A Jug is dropped.
Boise, Idaho: A giant potato is dropped.
Twin Falls, Idaho: A metal ball is dropped.
Des Plaines, Illinois: A diamond is dropped.
Cedar Falls, Iowa: A cedar is lowered.
Kokomo, Indiana: A lighted aluminum 70-pound Ball is dropped.
Muncie, Indiana: A ball is dropped.
Vincennes, Indiana: A Watermelon Ball is dropped and releases real locally-grown watermelons.
Manhattan, Kansas: An apple-shaped aluminum ball is dropped.
New Orleans, Louisiana: A Fleur-de-lis is dropped.
Columbus, Mississippi: An giant aluminum ball raised.
Bangor, Maine: A beach ball covered in Christmas lights is dropped.
Eastport, Maine: A sardine is dropped.
Baltimore, Maryland: A disco ball is dropped.
Easton, Maryland: A red crab is dropped.
Frederick, Maryland: A giant key is dropped.
Havre de Grace, Maryland – A foam lit duck is dropped.
Ocean City, Maryland: An illuminated beach ball is dropped.
Princess Anne, Maryland: A stuffed muskrat in a top hat is dropped.
Hagerstown, Maryland: A giant donut is dropped.
Detroit, Michigan: A sculpture, “D Burst”, is dropped.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: A steel ball is dropped.
Kalamazoo, Michigan: A recyclable ball is dropped.
Ludington, Michigan: A ball is dropped.
Marquette, Michigan: A ball is dropped.
Royal Oak, Michigan: A ball is dropped at midnight.
Traverse City, Michigan: A cherry is dropped.
Buffalo, New York: A lighted ball is dropped
Cheektowaga, New York: A ball is dropped
Hamburg, New York: A ball is dropped.
New York City (Times Square): The most famous ball of all is dropped…see Vintage Allies article “New Years Eve Ball.” A Waterford Crystal ball.
New York City at varied locations: A lighted ukulele is dropped.
Niagara Falls, New York: A Gibson Guitar is dropped.
North Tonawanda, New York: A ball is dropped.
Orchard Park, New York: A ball is dropped.
Syracuse, New York: An orange ball is dropped.
White Plains, New York: A ball drops from a crane.
Wilson, New York: Two balls are dropped, at two times.
Raleigh, NC: An acorn is dropped.
Black Creek, North Carolina: A large red heart is dropped.
Brasstown, North Carolina: A Plexiglas pyramid containing a living opossum is lowered and released.
Eastover, North Carolina: A wooden flea is dropped.
Charlotte, North Carolina: A lighted crown is raised
Mount Olive, North Carolina: A New Year’s Eve Pickle is lowered.
Elmore, Ohio: A sausage is dropped.
Marion, Ohio: A ball of popcorn is dropped.
Port Clinton, Ohio: A walleye fish is dropped.
Cincinnati, Ohio: A flying pig is “flown”.
Bartlesville, Oklahoma: An olive is dropped.
Oklahoma City: A lighted ball is raised.
Allentown, Pennsylvania: A liberty bell replica is dropped.
Akron, Pennsylvania: A purple-and-gold shoe is dropped.
Beavertown, Pennsylvania: A beaver is dropped.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: A giant yellow illuminated Peep is dropped.
Blain, Pennsylvania: A wooden cow is dropped.
Carlisle, Pennsylvania: An Indy car is dropped.
Cleona, Pennsylvania: A pretzel is raised.
Cornwall, Pennsylvania: A cannonball is dropped.
Dillsburg, Pennsylvania: Two pickles are dropped at two different times.
Duncannon, Pennsylvania: A sled is dropped.
East Petersburg, Pennsylvania: A “Haydn’s Jug” is dropped.
Easton, Pennsylvania: A giant Crayola crayon is dropped.
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania: A giant M&M is dropped ( Dove and M&M’s are also dropped).
Falmouth, Pennsylvania: A stuffed goat is dropped.
Halifax, Pennsylvania: A Hemlock tree is dropped.
Hellam, Pennsylvania: A replica of the Haines Shoe House is dropped.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: A strawberry is dropped.
Hershey, Pennsylvania: A Hershey Kiss replica is raised.
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania: A lollipop is dropped.
Ickesburg, Pennsylvania: A french fry is dropped.
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania: A steel mushroom is dropped (as of 2014).
Lancaster, Pennsylvania: A red rose is raised.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania: A 100-pound stick of Lebanon Bologna is dropped.
Lewistown, Pennsylvania: A bag of Hartley’s potato chips is dropped.
Lisburn, Pennsylvania: A pair of yellow pants is dropped.
Lititz, Pennsylvania: A Moravian star is raised.
Liverpool, Pennsylvania: A canal boat is dropped.
Media, Pennsylvania: A ball is dropped.
Manheim, Pennsylvania: A ball is raised.
McClure, Pennsylvania: A kettle is dropped.
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: A wrench is dropped.
Middletown, Pennsylvania: A metal Rhombicuboctahedron, (aka “soph octagon”) is dropped.
New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania: A box huckleberry is dropped.
Newville, Pennsylvania: A big spring is dropped.
Palmyra, Pennsylvania: “The Giant Shoe” is dropped.
Port Royal, Pennsylvania: A sprint car is dropped.
Pottsville, Pennsylvania: A bottle of Yuengling beer is raised.
Red Lion, Pennsylvania: A lion holding a wooden cigar is raised.
Richland, Pennsylvania: A cigar is dropped.
Shamokin, Pennsylvania: A chunk of coal is dropped that transforms into a diamond at the bottom
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: An anchor is dropped.
Strasburg, Pennsylvania: Ping pong balls are dropped.
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: A chunk of coal is dropped that transforms into a diamond at the bottom.
York, Pennsylvania: A white rose is dropped.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina: A giant, lighted golf ball is lowered.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: A ball is dropped.
Knoxville, Tennessee: A ball is dropped.
Richmond, Virginia: A look a like Times Square Ball is raised.
Roanoke, Virginia: A giant illuminated star is dropped.
Charlottesville, Virginia: A ball is dropped.
Fredericksburg, Virginia: An illuminated pear is dropped.
Memphis, Tennessee: A guitar is dropped.
Nashville, Tennessee: A giant Guitar is dropped.
Austin, Texas: Lighted new year’s balls hung from trees, which are lowered.
Houston, Texas: A star is raised.
McAllen, Texas: A giant mirrored ball descends.
San Antonio, Texas: The Tower of the Americas elevator is raised.
Plymouth, Wisconsin: A giant cheese wedge is dropped.
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin: A carp is lowered.
Show Low, Arizona: The deuce of clubs is dropped.
Flagstaff, Arizona: A pine cone is dropped.
Tempe, Arizona: A giant Tortilla Chip is dropped.
Seattle, Washington: The elevator of the Space Needle is raised