• U.S.

Brief History of The New Year’s Eve Ball

1 minute read
Frances Romero

Covered in 32,256 L.E.D. lights and 2,668 crystals, the 2008 New Year’s Eve ball continues a century-old tradition (interrupted only by a two-year wartime dimout) of marking a new beginning. The first iron-and-wood orb dropped on Dec. 31, 1907, as part of the third Times Square ceremony. And while the ball has changed over the years–as have the personalities who emceed–its spirit endures. More than a billion people are expected to watch the countdown this year.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com