Froschauer was born in Neuberg in Bavaria, Southern Germany and learned to work the printing press in Augsburg in the workshop of his uncle, Hans Froschauer. He moved to Zurich in 1515, and was given citizenship in 1519 for his work in building a printing press for Hans Rüegger. After Rüegger’s death, Froschauer married his widow and took over the press himself.
Froschauer was notable for his part in the Swiss Reformation, for which he was imprisoned for a time for holding a sausage feast during Lent (eating meat during Lent was banned by the Catholic Church). He also printed important works by the main figures of the Reformation, Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli – who was present at his sausage feast - as well as printing bibles in German (the Catholic Church then only preached from Bibles were in Latin). Froschauer additionally printed works by the progressive thinker and humanist, Desiderius Erasmus.
Over his career Froschauer presided over four printing presses in Zurich as well as owing the paper mill that produced the paper for his publications. His presses produced over 700 different titles and maps in that time.
Froschauer died in the plague that hit Zurich in 1564 and his presses passed to his nephews. His company however expanded and evolved over the centuries and still runs today as the Orell Füssli publishers and a district of Zurich, the ‘Froschau Quarter is named after him’.