In the Days of Yore (a blog)

Learning from the past can be laughable. CockBloq's blog, In the Days of Yore, takes a snarky, modern look at stories from the past, highlighting what we've learned—or haven't.

Yolanda Baker, the disco ball maker, led a team of women who built the balls that dazzled disco nights (1970s)

The sun parlor at the Milwaukee Hospital for the Insane with a mirror ball hung from its ceiling. 1912. Image courtesy  Wisconsin Historical Society .

The sun parlor at the Milwaukee Hospital for the Insane with a mirror ball hung from its ceiling. 1912. Image courtesy Wisconsin Historical Society.

Mirrored balls were around long before they were called disco balls. A mirrored ball appeared in the 1927 German silent film Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, and there’s even a record of one that hung in a Wisconsin hospital in 1912.

By the 1970s, Kentucky’s Omega National Products produced nearly 90% of the disco balls made in the United States. Yolanda Baker began working at Omega in the late 1960s, in the factory’s wood division. She transitioned to the mirror division in 1970 when the disco ball market started taking off. After a few years, she was leading a team of nearly 30 women, producing thousands of disco balls a month. During the peak of disco’s heyday, her team produced about 25 disco balls daily.

The disco ball in Saturday Night Fever? Made by Yolanda and her team! Studio 54 disco balls? That was Yolanda’s team! Learn more about Yolanda and her disco balls in the Louisville Courier-Journal’s fantastic profile.

Yolanda in 2016, putting the finishing touches on a disco ball.  Image courtesy Louisville’s Courier-Journal.

Yolanda in 2016, putting the finishing touches on a disco ball. Image courtesy Louisville’s Courier-Journal.