Manufacturers & New Years, v. 1: Dropping the Ball

By December 27, 2005General

Blogging from AustraliaAll the presents are opened and no sooner is Christmas over but we begin gearing up for the next holiday: New Year’s. With 2005 rapidly coming to a close, we thought we’d provide reader’s a special New Year’s treat: all this week, the Apprentice will be providing updates to readers from the first place that celebrates New Years: Australia. Today’s finds the Apprentice just got off the plane at Sydney Airport, and planning to head north to Birsbane & Noosa. Along the way, we’ll do the Opera House Tour thingy and hopefully taste some great wine.

While few know the words to “that song they play on New Year’s Eve” (Auld Lang Syne) the Manufacturers blog hopes that everyone will remember the impact that manufacturers have in making New Year’s festivities possible so all this week, we will also be profile of different manufacturers who make this once-in-a-year festivity possible.

In America, celebrating New Year’s is often incomplete without watching the televised activities in Times Square, or being there in person. For that, we turn to the makers of the famous Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball, Waterford Crystal. The Waterford Crystal story can be traced back to 1783 when two brothers, George and William Penrose, founded their crystal manufacturing business in the busy port of Waterford, Ireland. Less than 100 years later the initial company failed due to lack of capital and excessive taxation. In 1947, while Europe was still in ruins after World War II, a small glass factory was set up in Waterford just 1 1/2 miles from the site of the original glass factory.

The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball weighs 1000 pounds and is approximately 6 feet in diameter and contains over 650 lights. Its outer surface is covered with 504 Waterford Crystal panels specially designed and cut to insure that they can survive the extraordinary extremes in temperature that exist at the top of One Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Seventy-two of the 504 panels are replaced each year with a new theme; this years theme being “the Hope for Peace.”

Today, Waterford Crystal employs 9,000 people worldwide and is leading brand of premium crystal. They don’t just make “the ball,” but also are involved in other high profile events, producing the World Series and Super Bowl trophies and the Stanley Cup.

Come back tomorrow for part two of our special “Manufacturers & New Years” edition and check out where in Australia the Blogger’s Appprentice will be!