When you really think about it, watching a bejeweled orb descend a pole is quite a strange way to ring in the coming of the new year. And yet, millions around the world tune in to watch New York’s Times Square ball drop and the numerous events just like it around the world, cementing the new year’s ball drop as a time-honored tradition.
But what are the origins of this tradition? As it turns out, the actual history of these “time balls” goes far beyond simple celebration. In fact, time balls are a fascinating footnote in the longstanding tradition of public timekeeping.
To learn more about this fascinating history, check out an article we ran a few years back—Time Balls: the Horological Origins of the New Year’s Ball Drop. Happy 2019, everyone!