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The time sphere atop the imperial Observatory in Greenwich, England. Oli Scarff/Getty pictures

Time balls have actually been offered to display the passing of time since long prior to the an initial New Year"s night celebration in times Square.

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The an initial time sphere was set up on the roof that Flamsteed residence at the royal Observatory in Greenwich, in England in 1833, according to the times Square ball"s website. It falls every day at 1 p.m. And also was produced so the captains of navy ships can accurately collection their chronometers and also so that people could accurately collection their watches.


world near Trinity Church on brand-new Year's night in 1906 in brand-new York City. NYPL

In the at an early stage years, crowds gathered in times Square come celebrate the brand-new year, yet it wasn"t till 1907 the the sphere officially began making its slow drop from the flagpole atop One time Square.

New York had actually its very first ball fall in 1907; the 700-pound ball had 100 bulbs, to be made the iron and wood, and also appeared annually until 1920.


The group at times Square on December 31, 1930. AP photograph

In 1904, Adolph Ochs, publisher that The brand-new York time — for which time Square is called after — to plan a new Year"s night party featuring fireworks in an effort to entice revelers far from wall Street wherein they rang in the brand-new year through the ring the Trinity Church"s bells, follow to The new Yorker. 3 years later when Ochs couldn"t for sure a permit for fireworks, he had actually the very first New Year"s Eve round created and the tradition has actually stuck ever since.

There have actually been seven versions of the new Year's eve ball. In 1920, the 2nd version the the round was introduced.


The group in time Square in 1966. Harvey Lippman/AP picture

The brand-new 1920 sphere weighed 400 pounds and was made fully of wrought iron. The didn"t feature any kind of of the flashy decorations associated with today"s brand-new Year"s ball.

The group at time Square top top December 31, 1940. john Lindsay/AP photograph

Over the next couple of decades, the variety of spectators swelled. This to be the crowd of about 500,000 people ringing in the new year in 1940.

When the us entered civilization War II, the fire department started ramping up security. Because of wartime blackouts, 1942 and also 1943 were the only two years without sphere drops.

new York's fire room in times Square top top December 31, 1941. AP pictures

Instead of a ball drop, crowds gathered in 1942 and "43 rang in the new Year through a minute the silence followed by the sound of chimes played from a sound truck at the base of the time Tower, a nod to the original new Year"s celebration in ~ Trinity Church.

As televisions became much more mainstream in the 1960s, people started tuning in to watch the city's celebration.

A crowd watches a large screen in 1963. AP pictures

Thousands much more citizens across the us would begin watching the time Square celebration event in 1972 thanks to the inaugural environment of "Dick Clark"s brand-new Year"s Rockin" Eve."

It"s estimated that around 1 billion civilization tune into the TV special yearly now.

Crowds jamming new York's times Square ~ above December 31, 1974. AP images

The city supplied the brand-new aluminum round until 1998 — though it was renovated number of times over that period. Notable changes include aluminum skin, rhinestones, strobes, and also computer controls in 1995.

In honor of the "I Love brand-new York" campaign, the 1981 brand-new Year's ball consisted of red lights and also a eco-friendly "stem" to do it look choose an apple.

new York City market Ed Koch offers the thumbs-up authorize as the flips a switch to check the big Apple ball in 1981. Lederhandler/AP

That was likewise the final year Russ Brown, the superintendent of One time Square, regulated the sphere dropping ~ 16 years.

In 1982, 4 bombs explosive at government structures in new York on brand-new Year's Eve. The next year, the city to buy a collection of $20,000 robots that can handle bombs, wield shotguns, and also drag fallen policemans out the danger. Lock monitored the 1983 celebration.

Safety steps were heightened. AP pictures

For the 1983 brand-new Year"s celebration, the city to buy a collection of $20,000 robots that might handle bombs, wield shotguns, and also drag fallen police officers out of peril according come the 1991 book "Break-ins, fatality Threats and also the FBI."

In the 1990s, one-of-a-kind guests started activating the ball. The first was the charity Oseola McCarty, later adhered to by Muhammad Ali, mar Ann Hopkins from doctors Without Borders, and also others.

it was constantly exciting to watch who would certainly activate the ball. AP photos

The heritage was started by new York City market Rudy Giuliani in 1996 as an initiative come honor ar heroes on among the world"s largest stages.

The 1995 brand-new Year's night ball. note D. PHILLIPS/Getty photos

According come a 2009 new York time article, prior to 1995, the brand-new Year"s eve ball, i beg your pardon weighed numerous pounds, was simply lowered through "six men with ropes and a stopwatch." nowadays the round drop relies on a laser-cooled atom clock situated in Colorado, follow to The brand-new Yorker.

In 2000, the sphere was redesigned again because that the millennium celebration in ~ the Crossroads the the World.

Steven Goldmacher of Philips Lighting firm screws in among the 168 light bulbs in the times Square brand-new Year's Eve ball in 1999. DOUG KANTER/Getty images

The brand-new Year"s eve ball gained a makeover indigenous Waterford Crystal and Philips bright in 2000 that brought it right into the new millennium. The crystal sphere measured six feet in diameter, sweet 1,070 pounds, and also featured 168 lightbulbs.

Following the September 11 strikes in 2001, the police room tightened protection in times Square even more. Bomb-sniffing dogs and also 7,000 police officers with handheld metal detectors to be on duty.

A police dog doesn't look also pleased v the crowds. AP images

In current years the brand-new York City Police Department has actually deployed extr tactics to prevent bombers native attacking times Square throughout the celebration, including a quadcopter drone and 200 blocker trucks filled through sand, follow to a 2018 short article from The Verge.

The 2007 brand-new Year's ball. new York everyday News Archive/Getty pictures

Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting as soon as again make a new crystal ball and also replaced the old incandescent and also halogen bulbs v brand new Philips Luxeon LED lighting technology. The upgrade allowed for occasion planners to regime some quite spectacular irradiate patterns and effects because that the celebration.

In 2008, new York barred dare from times Square. Pedicabs began driving the ball's numeral fixtures instead.

Pedicab vehicle drivers in times Square on December 16, 2009. Reuters

Each year the new numbers displayed listed below the time Tower are delivered via pedicab.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty images

Dubbed the "Big Ball," the latest variant the the ball weighs nearly 6 tons and also measures 12 feet in diameter. It has actually an impressive 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles, which are illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon LED lights. The ball is now weatherproof and also towers above Times Square year-round for this reason if you don"t feel prefer fighting the throngs of world for a clues on new Year"s, you can snap a photo with it any type of day of the year.

After midnight on brand-new Year's, the room of Sanitation performs huge cleanups to clear the confetti and also other debris. In 2014, 190 workers cleared end 50 lots of garbage from time Square.

A reveler renders angels in the confetti on the soil during brand-new Year's night celebrations in time Square ~ above January 1, 2014. Reuters

Although it may make the night"s celebrations all the much more magical, a staggering lot of confetti and other debris needs to be cleaned up after the event.

Workers host a new Waterford crystal triangle next to the brand-new Year's Eve ball for the 2021 brand-new Year's night Celebration. KENA BETANCUR/Getty photos

According to the times Square official Website, the sphere got secondary 129 Waterford decision triangles special a "Gift of Happiness" pattern stood for "by a sunburst that bright cut radiating external like a beautiful sunny day bringing warmth smiles and happiness."

workers install new Waterford crystal triangles on the new Year's Eve round for the 2021 new Year's eve Celebration. KENA BETANCUR/Getty images

In a statement to Fox News, time Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins stated that because of the coronavirus pandemic, there will certainly be no crowd of human being present come ring in the brand-new year. Instead, the celebrations will take place online.

"But this year there will be significantly new and intensified virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever restricted live entertainment or experiences – quiet in advancement – will take ar in time Square," Tompkins called Fox in September.

Despite this, there will still it is in live musical performances from artists consisting of Andra Day and Gloria Gaynor. Performances because that "Dick Clark"s new Year"s Rockin" Eve," includeJennifer Lopez, Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmie Allen, and maker Gun Kelly.

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There is a 2021 new Year's night app and also website allowing people roughly the civilization to partake in the festivities.

The 2021 brand-new Year's night ball. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty images