Disco Ball

disco ball

A disco ball is a decorative object that reflects light directed at it in many directions, producing a complex display. Its surface consists of hundreds or thousands of mirrored facets, nearly all of approximately the same shape and size. Usually it is suspended from a device that causes it to rotate steadily on a vertical axis, and illuminated by spotlights. What are now sometimes called ‘disco balls’ were first widely used in nightclubs in the 1920s. They were already in existence and use before then, appearing in a description of a ballroom dance in 1897 in Boston. An early example can be seen in the nightclub sequence of ‘Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt,’ a German silent film from 1927.

Pink Floyd used a glitter ball on their 1987 and 1994 world tours. The glitter ball used on the 1987 tour was somewhat larger than normal but nowhere near as large as the glitter ball used on the 1994 tour. This particular glitter ball is one of the largest in the world at 16 feet in diameter. Madonna used a 2-ton glitter ball that was embellished by 2 million dollars’ worth of Swarovski crystals for her Confessions Tour in 2006. The world’s largest disco ball can be found on the promenade in Blackpool, United Kingdom; it weighs 4.5 tons and is 20 feet in diameter. With the emergence of infrared networks, glitter balls have found a new application, as a method of dispersing the infrared signals.


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