February 25, 2015

Party supplies and facts about mirror reflection disco balls

We carry a large variety of mirror balls. Both gold and silver.



Now that we're about to enter the summer season in earnest, I know what you're all thinking about.  Disco balls.

What else turns a ho-hum party into a spectacular event with the flick of a switch?  Disco ball.  What else, the moment you lay eyes on it, tells you exactly what kind of happening place you've just entered?  That's right, a disco ball.  What item lives solely to spread fun and excitement?  You know the answer: a disco ball.

When did this paragon of fun originate?  I bet you're thinking it was first used in disco clubs in the 1970s.  Well, in thinking that, my friends, you would be incorrect.

  • A lot of people have varying opinions about when the disco ball first appeared on the scene, and where.  Many people think it was in the disco era.  That's when they got the name disco ball.  But they lived under another name for a long time before that: mirror ball.
  • Many people say that the mirror ball made its first major appearance in Casablanca, which was released in 1942.
    • Still others say that the mirror ball first appeared in the 1920s, during the Jazz Age.  These folks typically cite a German silent film, Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt (Symphony of a Great City), which was released in 1927.  
    • The film is a tour of the city, a day-and-night-in-the life of Berlin in 1927, but what you see is thematically organized.  There are sections about transportation, about machinery, the military, work, lunch time, leaving work, leisure time, sports, vaudeville shows , more sports, nightlife, and finally, fireworks.  It's actually pretty cool to see what people doing ordinary things on an ordinary day looked like in Berlin in 1927.
      • But wait, it couldn't have been Woeste who invented it because I found still more mirror balls that pre-date his Myriad Reflector.  
      • The Wisconsin Historical Society has a photograph from around 1912 which includes a mirror ball.  The photo is of a sun parlor (solarium) in a hospital which treated (or probably more accurately, housed) tuberculosis patients and the insane.  The tuberculosis patients were encouraged to sit in the sun parlor to relax and take the air.  Suspended from the ceiling is none other than our good-time friend, the mirror ball.
        • But wait, there's more.  The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103, which likes to describe details of its history, mentions the use of a mirror ball at one of its celebrations very early in the Brotherhood's existence, in 1897.
        The February, 1897, issue of the "Electrical Worker" discusses the Third Annual Ball held on on January 6, 1897, at Roughaus Hall, Charlestown, and of the spectacular lighting display, which could be seen for miles around Boston. The letters "N.B.E.W." were done with incandescent lamps of various colors on wire mesh over the ballroom, highlighted by a carbon arc lamp flashing on a mirrored ball. The affair was hosted by Brothers Flynn, Melville, Colvin, Smith, Ellsworth and Dacey. About 800 people enjoyed the spiked punch and melodies of Dunbars famous orchestra.
        • "Spectacular lighting display," "800 people enjoyed the spiked punch and melodies."  Oh, yeah, you bet that was a good party.
        • 1897 is the oldest date I could find.  I have the feeling that the mirror ball may be older yet, but I can't back up that feeling with any evidence.  If any of you out there know of a mirror or disco ball that existed before 1897.
          • Even so, 1897 is a heck of a lot older than I ever guessed.
            • Now that you've seen the mirror ball in use at these various locales, I know that the next time you're at a party this summer, a shindig, a get-together, heck, even a cook-out, and it's feeling a little weak, you might cast your eyes longingly about for a disco ball.
            • To rectify the situation and equip yourself with a disco ball, you actually need three items: the mirror ball itself, a motor to turn it, and a lamp to shine a light on it and cast the miraculous sparkles all about the room.
            • You can buy the standard silver disco balls, or you can go with disco balls that have all-blue mirrors, or all-gold mirrors, or mirrors of all different colors.  You can get standing varieties that sit on top of your table and spin, or stationary half versions that crouch like a small mirrored hill in the center of your dining room table and wish they could be as fun as their complete spinning, ceiling-suspended brothers and sisters.

            You can see all kinds of mirror balls and sizes on our website. Also we carry the spinning battery operated hanger for the mirror balls.

            Please keep checking with us to see the next colors and sizes coming in.

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