Watch any Hollywood movie that depicts the new year and there would most probably be a scene of celebrations at Times Square—be it of people stuck in traffic or counting down to the famous ball drop. People began celebrating new years at Times Square long ago. But in 1907, they witnessed an illuminated wood and iron ball dropping down a flagpole at the stroke of midnight.

Ever since, the Waterford crystal ball has dropped from One Times Square to mark the beginning of the new year. It has only missed doing so in 1942 and 1943, when World War II brought lighting restrictions.

The idea for a time ball became popular in the 19th century. Many buildings would have smaller balls, which would drop from buildings every day at a certain time to help citizens set their watches. The current crystal ball can display more than 16 million colours, contains more than 32,000 LEDs and weighs in at a whopping 11,875 pounds.

My Reads Logout