Bostitch was founded in Arlington, Massachusetts in 1896 by Thomas Briggs as the Boston Wire Stitcher Company. Briggs had invented a machine that stitched books from a coil of wire. The company began manufacturing various other kinds of staplers for industrial use.
It largely focused on commercial stitching machines. However, in 1914, the company introduced its first "portable stapling machine," the Model AO, considered an ancestor of the modern desk stapler. In 1922, the company introduced the first stapler to use modern-style cohered strip staples, the Bostitch No. 1. This was a revolutionary design because it was inexpensive and reliable. During World War II the company joined five other firms to form the New England Small Arms Corporation for manufacture of M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles.