These days, lots of people are excited by Frobenius algebras because commutative Frobenius algebras are the same thing as 2D topological quantum field theories.

...but this seems like teaching an old dog new tricks. Can anyone sum up (using only diet representation theory :-P), why Frobenius algebras were invented and what was so good about them?

Also, any nice texts and/or papers along this line would be much appreciated. I'm working through the old Nakayama papers now, but perhaps this material exists in a friendlier and more modernised form somewhere?