Stapler of the Week: 1936 Bostitch B5

Ahh, the venerable, tank-like Bostitch B5 stapler. I remember using these in school back in the 1970’s, but the version that my school used was the battleship grey wrinkle painted ones from the 50’s. Interestingly, Bostitch seems to have followed the painting scheme used by Royal typewriters, where they used black wrinkle paint in the late 30’s through the 1940’s, then switched to grey wrinkle around the same time Royal did in 1950.

Another one of those $1 finds at Deseret Thrift, the B5 would normally be a stapler I’d pass right over despite my fond school memories, because they’re really common. I was stopped in my tracks by what I saw on the bottom of the machine:

Yep, a DEALER STICKER! First one I’ve seen on a stapler, this reads:

Sargent – Bostitch
424 Ness Bldg.
W-1006 Salt Lake City

That 4-digit phone number, along with the lack of floorplate “Bostitch” stamp (a 1940’s addition to the design) suggests that this is a very early model, sold between the model’s introduction after 1933 to about 1940.

As stated before, these B5 machines are built like tanks, and this one still works great, although the anvil can only do interfold stapling, it can be opened for tacking via a small lever under the main arm that’s not especially easy to get at when it’s closed.

When it comes to feeding the Bostitch B5, that’s an easy task. It takes standard style modern staples and you simply grip the chromed front plate and pull up and forward to open the magazine:

Updated: April 11, 2024 — 12:23 pm


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  1. That looks serious!

    Funny, I just picked up a little stapler today myself. Looks like this one:

  2. I remember getting a Presto as a gift when I was 10 years old. I think it was sold by F.W. Woolworth. It had a large soft rubber base that would fit around the metal. Mine was purple. I hate to tell you, but it jammed a lot. My favorite is the Bostitch B8, small, and well designed. Never jams.

  3. “Bostitch” – there couldn’t be a better brand name.

  4. The name Bostich came from company’s name: Boston Wire Sticher Company, later Stanly Bostich. It was acquired in 1996 by Deluxe Sticher Co of Chicago.

    1. I spelled Stitcher wrong. It is Boston Wire Stitcher Co. (and Deluxe Stitcher Co. of Chicago. Sorry

  5. Hi! I am doing a project for my theater props class and I need to find the stapler that would most commonly be used in 1952. Do you happen to know which stapler that would be?

    1. The B5 would be a good choice, also easy to find. (:

  6. what size staples do these staplers take? i have one and i ve been using a no.56 but i think it will take a slightly large size.

    1. The B5 takes what I think of as “common staples” – the sort that you can get anywhere and that normally work in the current Swingline machines.

  7. I have a beautiful B5B that belonged to my grandfather, so it’s a real antique. However, it does not seem to like the regular staples. Any suggestions on what size staples could be used that are readily available?


    1. Try finding Bostitch B5 staples. (:

    2. Google: Stanley Bostitch Standard Staples Model SBS19
      They are actually Model SBS19 1/4CP

  8. Yeah, I salvaged this from a uni years ago. In black. Still works great.

    An excellent article, thank you.

  9. Does anybody know the trick to opening the top part? I’m talking about accessing under the screw that holds the palm striking part, and to look at the spring to clean it. I don’t want to force anything. What’s holding those two top pieces together?

    1. June 24, 2019
      There are three pins that pass through the width of the stapler.
      When you look at the outside of the stapler, they look like rivit heads, but they’re not. You can easily get them out by gently tapping with a hammer, then pulling with pliers.
      Reassembly is the reverse … you tap the pins back in.
      The whole disassembly / reassembly process is very easy.
      If you send me an email address I’ll send you a diagram showing where the pins are located and what order to use when you remove or reassemble them… plus a couple of cautionary notes about the reassembly.

      1. Would love that diagram! I spent a couple of persistent hours getting a jammed cluster of staplers out with pliers and various wires and rods.Successful but was ready to pack it in a number of times…..Thanks

        1. I would love that diagram too. I seem to be in the same boat as John.

      2. Please, if its possible I would ike to receive the diagram too, I have a problem of jam staplers which won’t let it work anymore…

        Thanks a lot

      3. I have one of these marked Model B5B that I salvaged from the garbage more than 50 years ago. t still works except the internal spring won’t push the last 10 to 12 mm of staples forward and then I have to reload it with a few more staples. I’d appreciate that diagram and the notes so I could see what’s going on with the insides. Do you know if parts are available?

      4. Hi, I just came across your post. Would you be able to send me that diagram, if you still have it? My B5 suddenly stopped pushing staples forward from the sleeve. Assuming I need to disassemble the entire body. Thanks so much!

      5. Hi Deraj,

        My B5 staples tend to stick (i.e. do not feed properly). I am interested in your diagram.
        Thank you,

        Jean Gagnon

      6. Could I also get that diagram? Thanks

      7. Hello. I hope Iā€™m not to late to get in the game? Might I trouble you for the diagram as well? I would like to clean up/refurbish my B5 as well.
        Thanking you in advance, Tony

        1. Hi my B5 does not push the staple out to staple. I was able to get the pin out and it looks like the spring is in good shape. Could you please send me your diagram so I can see what else I missed. Thanks so much! Sue

        2. My B5B stapler has jammed. How do I get the staples out? Thanks

      8. I too would like the diagram for the B5 -my stapler worked fine until tried to reload it. Ehen I pulled Loading piece up, the thin metal strap fell out – I have replaced it correctly, have loaded the stapler but it now doesn’t work. The pad to drive a staple doesn’t go down…

      9. I could use that diagram, too, as well as any help on how to get part #100 in Fig 14m back into place. In the process of finding out the staples are jammed that piece came out.

      10. Hello Jared,

        Sorry to disturb you, it appears numerous people do not have the diagram. I would sincerely appreciate if you could send me the diagram also.

      11. I can see there are staples in my ancient Bostitch, but not pushed forward. I would also love the diagram to see if I can get my stapler working again. Many thanks!

      12. Dear Deraj:
        Could you please send me the diagram referenced in your June 24, 2019 comment? I have a B5 model, but it ran out of staples. I have staples for it, but my stapler has not been used for a very long time. It still works when it has staples in it.
        Very truly yours,
        Beverly Pellegrini

  10. Have purchased staples twice for my Bostitch B5 stapler.. I thought for sure the last pack which said “universal” would fit but no. Do you know where I could purchase this size staples, B5?

  11. I received my Bostitch B5 stapler when I began teaching school in 1960. It still looks and works like new. Stamped underneath- made in USA. It uses Bostitch B4 Standard 1/4″ leg length staples ,

  12. I have the same Bostich stapler that I’ve used consistently since the early 70’s I had a bad jam recently and also need the diagram on how to open it up.


    1. I would be very interested in receiving the diagram to see if could fix my b5 stapler.

  13. My Bostitch just stopped working (toddler got a hold of it) – can you send along that diagram please? The T shaped piece (Fig. 14 above) is loose and I can’t seem to figure out how it goes back in. Thanks in advance.

  14. Please send the Diagram. I knocked out the 3-pins and unjammed the Swingline Staples that are too small, but now am having trouble getting the B5 together again. A Humpty-Dumpty Nightmere. Thanks.

  15. I have one of these staplers and would appreciate the instructions/diagram to open up the mechanism to access the spring. It is a wonderful stapler.

  16. Purchased some cheap staples that jammed the loading mechanism. If you can share the diagram so that I can gain access to the spring loaded feeder (this is where the jammed staples currently are located), I would appreciate it very much. I inherited by B5B from my father. He had it in the 50-60s.
    Thank you

  17. Hello,
    May I please get a diagram of the B5B?

    Thank you

  18. May I have a copy of the Bostich B5 stapler diagram, please?

  19. Hi! What an interesting website! I have this sentimental attachment to my mother’s old Bostich B12G stapler that she used in her classroom. Everything is working right except I can’t get the top guillotine back in, and it appears there is a tiny spring that goes in this same area (not the big top spring and not the long skinny spring by the pusher). By any chance would you have a diagram of sorts? Thanks!!

    1. nope – there’s not a lot of service info for staplers out there.

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