Born one of 13 children on a farm in Mound Prairie, Minn., Peter Kroehler (b.1872 d.1950) put himself through summer school, night school and the Commercial Academy of Northwestern College, where he was hired by a Naperville group to help run a small furniture business called the Naperville Lounge Co. There he kept books, called on customers, and delivered products to the railroad station. By the time It became the Kroehler Co., he had developed and sold hand-tufted "Turkish Couches" (6 for $25); invented and patented davenport bed fixtures with hidden mattress and springs (the earliest dual-purpose furniture); introduced a piecemeal system giving employees the opportunity to earn more money while controlling costs. Kroehler also introduced national advertising and premium tie-ins (sofas and triple plated teapots).
Organizer and first president of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers, he also organized the American Furniture Man and Furniture Club of America. A man of deep compassion, he was one of the original founders of the Naperville YMCA.