Jerome Bonaparte Squier and his son Victor Carroll Squier were two English immigrants who started a violin building and repair company in Boston in 1881. Victor opened a store in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1890, and soon after, a violin factory at 427 Capital Ave SW (V.C. Squier Company) that also produced violin, banjo, and guitar strings.
In the early 1950s, V.C. Squier Company began making strings for Leo Fender‘s electric guitars, and by 1963, it became an official supplier for the company. In 1965, Fender Electric Instruments bought V.C. Squier Company.
Before the introduction of the Squier line in 1982, the company produced lower-priced guitars such as the Lead series at its Fullerton, California plant. But the brand had never made low-priced guitars based on the Stratocaster and Telecaster models until the Squier line was introduced. Instead, they used different designs for cheaper models.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the company faced competition from cheaper Japanese guitars. Japanese labor and production costs were significantly lower than those in America, and they relocated cheaper guitar production from America to Japan to compete. However, it was difficult to compete with Japanese rivals such as Tökai and Greco, and sales in Japan were disappointing.
Negotiations were held with various Japanese musical instrument distributors and an agreement was eventually reached with Yamano Gakki and Kanda Shokai. One condition of the agreement was that Kanda Shokai would stop producing its own Greco guitars. Tökai negotiations were put on hold, and FujiGen Gakki was selected.
The first Squier models appeared in August 1982. The Squier series has gradually evolved over time and now includes original model designs. Production has also been relocated from Japan to various other Asian countries such as Korea, China, Indonesia, and India.