Peter Kroehler, the son of immigrant parents, was born in 1872. In 1890, he attended the Commercial Academy of North-Western College (now North Central College) in Naperville, Illinois. His professor, James Nichols, and two other men founded the Naperville Lounge Factory in 1893 and hired Peter Kroehler as a clerk at $26 a month. Both the company and Kroehler were off to a good start and by 1896 he entered a partnership with Nichols, Fred Long and John Kraushar, the original investors. The Naperville Lounge Factory changed its name to the Naperville Lounge Company in 1898.
Kroehler was elected president of the company in 1903, the same year he bought out two of the shareholders. In 1911 Kroehler incorporated a furniture factory called the P.E. Kroehler Manufacturing Company in Kankakee, Illinois. This company, the Naperville Lounge Company and two other furniture plants merged to form the Kroehler Manufacturing Company in 1915. Peter Kroehler led the furniture industry purchasing or building new plants around the United States and Canada. Kroehler Manufacturing Company was known as the world's largest manufacturer of upholstered furniture and was an industry standard. The company sold its interests and dissolved in 1981.
The Kroehler Collection includes company corporate records, ledgers, photographs, salesman's catalogs, newsletters, magazines and samples of their advertisements through the years.