Ball Drop On New Years Eve
Ever wonder about that ball in Times Square? The New Year’s Eve ball first dropped in Times Square in 1907. I’ve researched it, um, just because I need to know. Little things like this keep me out of trouble! Check out these interesting things I found out about “the ball”!
What is with the ball drop on New Year’s Eve? Is there some sort of ancient tradition we can credit with our desire to slowly lower a large sphere as we usher out the old year and welcome the new?
Not really. We gather in Times Square and in front of televisions to watch that glittery ball drop on New Year’s Eve because a long-ago newspaper publisher wanted a spectacular show and this is what he came up with.
Actually, New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs didn’t dream up the ball drop himself. In 1907, he asked Walter F. Palmer, chief electrician of the New York Times building (then located on West 43rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues), to give him a spectacular New Year’s Eve show that would draw attention to the recently renamed Times Square.
Palmer designed a 700 pound, five-foot diameter iron and wood ball with decked out with 100 25-watt light bulbs. This very first Times Square ball descended from a flagpole at One Times Square exactly one second after midnight that year. Every year since, with the exception of 1942 and 1943, a ball has dropped in Times Square to mark the exact moment of the new year.
It is possible that Palmer’s Times Square ball may have been inspired by “time balls” such as the one that sat atop England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in the early 1800’s. This ball — and others like it — were dropped at one o’clock every afternoon to allow captains of nearby ships to set their chronometers.