The New York Times Square ball drop has been a New Year’s Eve tradition for more than 100 years. But only recently has the ball itself become such a masterpiece of technology.
Here are a few fun facts about the NYE ball to impress everyone watching tonight:
1. The first Times Square ball dropped in 1907.
2. The ball was made of iron and wood, and covered with just 100 plain light bulbs.
3. The newest ball is now in its fifth generation, and was first introduced in 2008.
4. The balls is a 12-foot wide sphere.
5. It weighs almost 12,000 pounds.
6. The ball features 30,000+ LED lights.
7. It’s also covered in 2,688 high-quality crystals.
8. The ball has dropped every year since 1907, with the exception of 1942-1943, when there was a wartime “dimout” in New York City.
9. The Times Square ball isn’t the first to drop. The first dropping ball was built at England’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England in 1833. Ship captains would watch the ball would at 1 p.m. every day and set their navigational tools. The tradition also lives on at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., where a ball drops every day at noon.
10. The New York ball can be visited year round.
Did you know? More than 50 Times Square sanitation workers clean Times Square all-night after the big event to remove all of the confetti and return Times Square to its usual cleanliness.