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  • Before we had time zones, each city kept their own time based on the sun.

  • This was a problem for sailors, whose timepieces often got D calibrated at sea.

  • In the early 18 hundreds, an official in the Royal Navy suggested using a visual on shore.

  • So they put a ball on top of a flag and raised up a second ball a few minutes before 12 when light passed between the two sailors set their clocks to new, eventually self winding clocks and other new tech made these time balls unnecessary.

  • Fast forward.

  • A few years, The New York Times relocates to what is now Times Square to celebrate.

  • They decided to throw a party on New Year's Eve.

  • Before then, New Yorkers gathered at Trinity Church, where people would throw bricks in the air like confetti, so the times opted for fireworks instead.

  • But a couple years later, City banned the display.

  • Tasked with finding an even safer celebration.

  • Newspaper found inspiration in those old naval time balls.

  • In 1907 a £700 ball of wood and iron outfitted with 125 watt light bulbs, was lowered.

  • Touring in the tradition was born Since then, we've only gone without the ball twice.

  • That was in 1942 and 1943 when the government was worried the bright lights could be a target during World War Two, so chimes were used instead.

Before we had time zones, each city kept their own time based on the sun.

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