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Disco Ball Facts

When one hears the word “disco” they are likely to immediately think of dance music, night clubs, the 1970s era and disco balls. Disco balls were one of the most essential components of nightclubs. The mirrored disco ball (which is generally regarded as being the “classic” disco ball) appears in mostly all disco-era music videos and nightclub footage. Until this day disco balls appear in nightclubs and joyful events like wedding receptions but few people know about the history behind these reflective creations.

Disco balls are popular at night clubs, theater musicals, and other jolly atmospheres.
Disco balls are popular at night clubs, theater musicals, and other jolly atmospheres.Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Disco balls are defined as being spherical objects that reflect light in many directions. When a spotlight hits a spinning disco ball the reflected patterns create a beautiful and complex design around a room. Although disco balls are now synonymous with the 1970s, the trend actually started gaining massive popularity in the 1920s. The earliest record of a disco ball dates back to a ballroom dance in Boston circa February 1897. No one knows exactly who invented the mirrored ball, but it is believed to have been inspired by the sparkling chandeliers that have graced mansions for centuries.

Disco balls are quite pleasant to look at and so they are often sold as novelty items. Many children enjoy them and they are sometimes used for purposes of room décor. Miniature disco balls of varying colors can be purchased as Christmas tree ornaments. According to “Guinness World Records,” the largest disco ball ever made was 32 feet 9 inches in diameter and was presented in Moscow, Russia, on April 26, 2012.