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Tassel Depot, formerly known as Hofmann & Leavy, Inc., has been operating continuously since 1864. While the company has roots in New York, it moved the state of the art manufacturing facility and headquarters to Deerfield Beach, Florida in 1989.

The history of Tassel Depot begins when the company was founded by two German immigrants, Florenze Hofmann and Christian Eldrodt. Edward Leavy joined the company in 1921 as a salesman after Eldrodt was no longer with the company. When Hofmann died in 1929, his family sold the company to Ed Leavy; the name was subsequently changed to Hofmann & Leavy.

In 1942, after serving in World War II, Edward Leavy's son Jack joined the company. In 1972, Roger Leavy, Jack's son, entered the business and was fully helping operations by 1978, when Edward Leavy had passed.

In 1985, a second facility was constructed for handwork assembly in Kingston, Jamaica. With a background in textiles and design, Roger’s wife April got involved with Tassel Depot in 1996. Today, Roger and April, with the help of a fabulous team, manufacture and ship tassels by the millions to their customers worldwide. 

The History of Tassels 

The tassel is the only ornament crafted that has withstood the test of time. It is an item that ties loose ends of yarn together, adorning many things including clothing and uniforms. The tassel was very often a status symbol that differentiated people in the military or religious fields. The use of cords with tassels dates back to the 14th century, during which it represented levels of learning similar to the type of academic regalia still prevalent today. Tassels were also used on keys and other furnishings, creating an art form, now dressing up interiors all over the world.

History of Graduation Tassels: Meanings and Colors

Tassels on graduation caps are most often the color or colors of a particular institution or subset of that institution. The tassels on the ends of Honor Society cords most often represent membership to a smaller group within that class. They differentiate the accomplished graduate in other areas of academic life known as honor societies or a specific area of study. These tasseled cords, referred to as honor cords, are worn around the neck of the student and over the gown.

For academic purposes, tassels are associated with different areas of discipline depending on the graduate. The colors of the flag tassels and cords associated with a particular discipline are as follows:

  • Arts & Sciences – White

  • Business Administration - Drab

  • Communication & Journalism – Crimson 

  • Dentistry - Lilac

  • Education – Light Blue

  • Medicine – Green 

  • Music – Pink 

  • Nursing – Apricot 

  • Economics - Copper

  • Engineering – Orange

  • Fine Arts, including Architecture – Brown 

  • Law – Purple

  • Pharmacy – Olive Green

  • Philosophy – Dark Blue 

  • Public Health – Salmon 

  • Science - Golden Yellow

  • Social Work – Citron 

The tassel is worn on the right side of the graduation cap throughout the ceremony and moved to the left during a special portion of the graduation ceremony. The movement of the tassel from one side to the other symbolizes the moment students are conferred into degrees and grow from candidate to graduate. This incredible milestone is properly known as the turning of the tassel.

Graduation Ceremony Traditions and History 

Today, the tassel is used in graduations and other ceremonies both for differentiation and unifying purposes. The graduation tassel attached to a mortarboard for a school or college means that a student belongs to a particular class that has completed its goals. While it is important to note that graduation stoles and stole of gratitude have different meanings, these are often a big part of any graduation outfit. 

Graduation ceremonies originally began in the 12th century in Europe, where the first schools and universities were established, though some believe it is also due, in part, to the scholastic monks that celebrated milestones and ceremonies in robes. Since the 12th century, graduation ceremonies and graduation robes, as well as other graduation accessories, have evolved to those we know today. 

Tassel Depot – The Leading Tassel Manufacturer in the Nation 

Tassel Depot is a one-stop shop for all tassel needs, but our company goes beyond just offering exceptional graduation accessories. We also manufacture promotional products to help local businesses elevate their marketing efforts. In the 150-year history of Tassel Depot, we have expanded tremendously, providing our customers with more than just tassels. Be sure to contact us to learn more about personalized bookmarks, cords, tassels, products, and more!