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The History of the Ball Drop

While the tradition of time balls dates back to 19th century England, the first celebratory ball drop took place in 1907, when the first ever New Year’s Eve ball descended from a flagpole atop One Times Square. The first ball was made from iron and wood; it was built by a young immigrant metalworker named Jacob Starr and adorned with a hundred 25-watt bulbs. The ball drop has taken place every year since, with the exception of 1942 and 1943, when wartime “dimout” policies in New York prevented the tradition from taking place. The ball itself has been redesigned a number of times over the years, most recently in 2007 for the centennial ball drop. The 2007 ball was designed by Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting, and this spectacular LED crystal ball is still used each New Year’s Eve.

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