Kroehler Furniture Company Catalogues Stratford Perth Archives

Kindel Bed Co. opened its doors in Stratford in 1917 in what had been the Kemp factory for farm equipment. (see Kemp Street). The head of Kindel was Peter Edward Kroehler. Five years later the company’s name changed to Kroehler Manufacturing and eventually became Kroehler Furniture Co.

Kroehler’s grew quickly and by 1918 construction on a large addition had begun. The building at Romeo Street and Ontario Street eventually grew from 12,000 square feet to 220,000 square feet and the factory went from 30 employees to 460.

Sometimes, generations of the same family found employment there. Many worked there their entire lives, leaving with 40 and 50 year service pins. Kroehler Manufacturing was one of the longest surviving manufacturers in Stratford. In 1990, the building at Ontario Street and Romeo Street was demolished and its second location on Douro Street closed in 1992.

One of the company’s longest running advertising campaigns highlighted Kroehler’s “hidden qualities” which is apparent in a large selection of their catalogues. According to their 1926 catalogue, “in upholstered living room furniture, the most important parts of the structure are those parts which cannot been seen.” These ads encompassed a wide variety of “hidden” features such as the spring steel understructure, the tempered steel upholstery springs, hardwood frames, and their filling materials. In the 1926 catalogue titled “Kroehler Davenport Beds and Living Room Furniture” each “hidden quality” is explained at length. They really seem to stress the quality of their pieces and even go on to list their cushions, coverings as part of their “hidden qualities” even though these are clearly apparent when you look at a piece. Later advertising campaigns promoted how versatile some pieces were like the Swingers series that could be easily switched from chairs to lounges to beds for those who live “now.”

Although the factory is closed, the work that Kroehler’s employees did lives on through the catalogues and furniture pieces that still exist today. The Stratford-Perth Archives has a selection of Kroehler catalogues and flipping through them is an amazing adventure as you might recognize some of the pieces you currently have in your home or some you may remember being in your parents’ or other relatives’ homes. Kroehler had such large an impact on Stratford and its people. The catalogues are a true treasure which attest to the hard work, quality, and longevity of Kroehler Furniture Company, its products, and its employees. Source: Stratford-Perth Archives Blog Posted September 8, 2022

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