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Inauguration Day adorned with local tassel ties

Posted: 5:44 PM, Jan 18, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-24 14:59:03Z

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.-- Inauguration Day for President-Elect Donald Trump will have ties to South Florida made of golden and looped thread.

A South Florida business made the tassels that will adorn all 110,000 programs for guests at the event.  It is one in a series of historic moments for which the business has supplied tassels.

Step inside the Tassel Depot factory in Deerfield Beach, you will hear the whir of machines sliding back and forth as flashes of color dance across cascading spools.  Roger and April Leavy are the owners.  Roger's grandfather taught him to cut a tassel decades ago and the business has remained in the family.  It is believed to be the last business in the United States that specializes in making tassels as its sole product.

The business began as President Abraham Lincoln was elected, in 1864.  Since that time, Tassel Depot has helped with state dinners, a queen's visit, the Joint Session of Congress just after the attacks on September 11th. Roger Leavy says he was once asked to make tassels for an event he only learned later was the funeral of First Lady Nancy Reagan.  The business also did the tassels for the President Richard Nixon funeral.

Some of the machines in this factory date back to the days of President Harry S. Truman and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The machines made of wood and metal that have been retrofitted for current day use, in some cases, are more reliable than the more modern machines.

"You turn them on, and they run," said Roger Leavy.

The process of looping and cutting the tassels is basically the same whether it's a long multi-colored graduation or a more delicate one made for a program.  The Inauguration Day tassels, however, are always the same color, "old gold."  The entire order of tassels for the programs for this event were shipped before the election was even over.

"They wanted delivery in November, so we started producing these tassels in August," said Roger Leavy.

The business prides itself on being the bookmark to memorable days.

"Tassels without hassles," laughed Leavy.