biography

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Work

1895 50 employees
1931 29 500 employees
1894 footwear production
1903 precision engineering
1909 printing
1915 tannery
1915 power station
1916 retail trade
1917 agriculture
1917 domestic shoe shops
1918 forestry
1918 brick manufacturing
1918 newspaper publishing
1919 woodworking plant
1919 zshoe shops abroad
1919 company savings bank
1920 advertising
1923 shoe-repair shops
1924 rubber industry
1924 construction industry
1924 railway transport
1924 air transport
1925 constructionprojects
1926 chemical production
1926 paper processing
1926 lorry transport
1926 publishing house
1926 cinema
1927 film production
1927 food production
1928 chemical research
1929 pedicure
1930-32 tyre production
1930 insurance company
1931 textile production
1931 gas works
1932 coal mines
1932 hotel
1932 shipping

Organization of Work

1924 workshop autonomy system
1924 participation in profit and loss
1924 research department (inventions)
1924-27 technological racionalization
1925 psychological-technical laboratory
1930 five-day working week
1932 81% of total shoe production in Czechoslovakia
  75% of the Czechoslovak shoe export

Public Sector Administration

Zlín 1900 2 975 inhabitants
Zlín 1932 26 350 inhabitants
1923 Mayor of Zlín
1929 member of the Provincial Council

Architecture

1910 Architect J. Kotěra
1912 family homes
1919 Architect F. L. Gahura
1924 „A Factory in Gardens“ project
1926-27 the town of gardens urbanism
1930 Architect V. Karfík
1931 skyscraper urbanism

National Economy

1922 half price of shoes – impact on price level in Czechoslovakia
1923 thousands of new job opportunities
1923 replacing craft by mass production
1928 plans for the Prague–Česká Třebová–Kroměříž–Zlín–Púchov–Košice railway
1929 financing project for Moravia and Silesia
1930 reorganization plan for water management of the river Morava
1931 programme for regional development of Central and Eastern Moravia
1931 enquiry about the role of T. Baťa in the national economy in the „Přítomnost“ magazine

Employees

1910 canteen
1910-20 supporting artists: Gahura, Kobzáň
1912 houses for employees
1918 company library
1918 company kindergarten
1918 improving education
1921 factory opened for excursions
1921 film screenings for employees
1921 company band
1924 health and social department
1924 SK Baťa sports club
1925,1930 special education: shoemaking:
  apprentice school (Baťa School of Work)
  secondary education
1925-29 public education reform
  (experimental schools in Zlín)
1926 employing the handicapped
1927 Baťa Hospital
1928 Baťa Relief Fund
1928 supporting science – Anthropos Brno
1930 specialised journals
1930 Shoe Museum
1930 zoological garden



From Zlín into the World

1894 Zlín   1919-21 Lynn, USA
1917-23 Pardubice   1931 Ottmuth, Germ.
1929 Otrokovice   1932 Borovo, Yugo.
1930 Krasice   1932 Chelmek, Pol.
1931 Třebíč   1932 Möhlin, Switz.
1931 Bošany   1932 Hellocourt, Fr.
1931 Nové Zámky     Konagar,Tilbury

1917-32 network of approx.1,800 shops CZ
1919-32 network of approx. 700 shops abroad (from Chicago to Singapore)
1921-32 network of affiliated companies abroad
1931 export of factories and architecture

Ideas and Actions

1912
T. Bata expressed his intention to build colonies of flats for his blue-collar and white-collar workers; the first group of houses was built in the same year.
1932
By the last year of Bata's life, 1 564 houses had been built for his staff in Zlín (the total number amounted to 27 210 in 1945).

1918
T. Bata published the following idea in the first issue of his company’s newspaper: “Flats will be needed. What can be nicer than having a place of your own, where you can even have something to eat and drink in your own garden, where the sun is shining brightly … and where you enjoy being as much as you enjoy lying in a hot bath?”; the company began to build houses with gardens in the same year.
1932
By the last year of Bata's life, five garden districts had been built in Zlín, surrounding the town in the south and east, and making it the town of gardens (two more districts were built before 1945).

1918
Architect J. Kotěra submitted to Bata his proposal for a building project related to the premises opposite the factory – apart from residential districts, baths, a department store, post office, hotel, reading room, casino, cinema, nursery school, hospital and two schools were designed.
1925-1932
Opposite the large factory, the Práce (Labour) square (designed by architect F. L. Gahura) was built, a modern shopping and social centre comprising two department stores, a twelve-floor hotel and the spacious Grand Cinema (with a seating capacity of 2 400).

1919
Bata's following ideas were published in his company’s newspaper: “the system of company benefits, the aim of which is to encourage gifted and competent manual workers, and the system of profit sharing, the aim of which is to elicit in his employees a sense of joint responsibility for their company as if they were its co-owners”.
1924
T. Bata introduced the bonus system of profit and loss sharing in his company – in this way, staff motivation and performance were increased, and the prosperity of the entire company rose significantly.

1923
T. Bata said: “Many people insist that it is impossible to build big factories in our country, as it lacks the sea, and its coal and oil resources are not as huge as those in America. I insist that the great welfare of the American people has been built up particularly thanks to the wisdom and hard work of the local people … I want to prove that such factories can be built in our country as well.”
1931
The number of Bata's employees amounted to 29 000 (within eight years the staff numbers had risen six times). Tens of new factory buildings had been constructed and equipped with the latest appliances. Since 1927, sophisticated production lines developed by the Bata Company had been used (an assembly line).

1924
Participants in “Bata's school mission, which was financed by the factory owner and Mayor T. Bata to enable its participants to study conditions in local schools abroad and to use the positive aspects observed for improving the system of education in our county” were sent abroad.
1929
The experimental education programme started to be implemented in the building of a new junior secondary school; T. Bata said: “We want to teach our children so well that they could be not only our students but also our teachers. (…) I wish that I could learn something new every day as my son does at school. In fact, this is a way to build not only schools for our children but also schools for ourselves to gain knowledge and so to make our lives better, nicer and more comfortable.” Thanks to T. Bata, seven new school buildings were constructed in Zlín between 1924 and 1932 (and four more were built before 1938).

1926
“Bata's new skyscraper (department store) to be built in Brno” was presented during Mayday Parade organized by the Bata Company.
1931
Zlín’s first skyscraper was finished – Bata's ten-floor department store, which was followed by a nearby twelve-floor hotel (1932) and a seventeen-floor administration building of the company (1939).

1926, květen
T. Bata said: “I am happy … that this year our company has achieved such great success that we are able to donate CZK 1 000 000 to build the company’s hospital.”
1927, listopad
The first patients were admitted to Zlín’s new hospital.

„My head was burning from confronting my views on human society, the view of life derived from the vantage point of my twenty years and from the books of Tolstoy, poems of Svatopluk Čech … If i should need a spade or tools, they would be produced in a socialist factory, as described by Zola in his Work.“

(Úvahy a projevy, 1932)

Concerning machines and work organization I did not find much new in America… But the skills of workers were great. On some machines they were achieving ten times higher performance than our own workers. Therefore I worked there as a factory worker, knowing fully that it is futile to tell people how to work and not being able to show them. I also wanted to experience with my own body the difficulties in attaining such high performances.“

(Úvahy a projevy, 1932)


„Many people claim that is impossible to build large corporations in our country because we lack the sea, the coal, and oil resources available in America. I am convinced that the prosperity of the American people is based primarily on the wisdom and diligence of their population… I would like to prove that such enterprises can be created in our country as well.“

(Sdělení, 25. 8. 1923)




„By profit sharing we intend to boost both the moral and material well-being of the workers… We would like all our workers to become financial partners in our enterprise… We desire that each of our workers strives to become a foreman and that his behaviour would allow us to promote him to fore-man at any time.“

(Zámožnost všem)

„Workshop autonomy is not only cheaper, it is also better… a system as foolproof and sure as the law of Earth's gravity had to be found.“

(Zámožnost všem)

„Calculations, loss and profit accounts ... in our factories, they are in the hands of workers and clerks. Together with workshop foremen, workers calculate their shares, but also the shares that go to the enterprise; this makes workers informed about the results earlier than management.“

Sdělení, 13. 6. 1925)


The greatest obstacle to overcome for entrepreneurs is to realize that they must divide profits resulting from advances in production justly among their employees, customers and enterprise... Even the best social legislation may be sometimes more to the detriment than to the benefitof working people, because while laws can order entrepreneurs to be charitable, they cannot force people to become or to remain an entrepreneur.“

(Sdělení, 2. 8. 1924)

„A bankruptperson who came out of bankruptcy poor and with a thrashed body does not deserve contempt. But I do not see any difference between a rich man who is bankrupt and a criminal.“

(Naše banky, 1927)

„What we have lately tended to call an economic crisis is nothing other than moral misery. Moral misery is a cause, economic decline is an effect… it is necessary to overcome a crisis of trust.“

(České slovo, 3. 7. 1932)

„Sell for as much as you can, but give an honest measure. Buy for as little as possible, but pay honestly...“

„A worker with savings is freer, more self-contained and independent than a landowner or a factory owner with debts.“

„What is mine is precious, what is public is sacred. It is the duty of a citizen to govern, not to grumble. Just like I want all workers in our factories to be their own managers, I would like all citizens of our municipality to be their own mayor.“

„Free and independent citizens need room and space for their own development… That is why our new housing is spacious and open in all sides. That is why we want to build a town in gardens.“

„Every day, I would to learn at least something my son learns at school. We are actually building our schools not only for our children, but for ourselves as well – and what we teach and learn in those schools should make lives better, more beautiful and more pleasant.“

„Every penny spent on our schools will pay back many times…“


Jan Kobzáň: „He liked to listen to others, he waited with his words, adopting a pose without being a poseur. … Baťa greets everyone, Baťa sees everyone – even when you want just to pass by discreetly. His ´Welcome!´ sounded so colloquial, like from a neighbour, a friend, somebody from our country and region.“

Noviny Zlín, 24. 11. 1939



Ludvík Vaculík: „Tomáš Baťa uplifted the Czechs from cobblers to Europeans. … Baťa cannot be imitated only technically; he was a spiritual and cultural phenomenon as well. … I think that he was an unidentified utopian, who nevertheless turned a large part of social utopia into reality.“

J. Ruszelák, 2002


Selection of literature:

  • PAGÁČ, Jaroslav. Tomáš Baťa a 30 let jeho podnikatelské práce. Prague, 1926.
  • BAŤA, Tomáš. Úvahy a projevy. Zlín, 1932.
  • ERDÉLY, Evžen. Baťa – švec, který dobyl světa. Prague, 1932.
  • BAŤA, Tomas. How I Began. East Tilbury, 1934.
  • BAŤA – Man and Work. Zlín, 1935.
  • BAŤA – Les homes, et l´oeuvre. Zlín 1935.
  • BAŤA – Menschen und Werk. Zlín, 1935.
  • LANGLET, Emil. Thomas Baťa – en skomakare erövrar världen . Stockholm, 1937.
  • JANDÍK, Stanislav. Železní tovaryši : sociologická reportáž o zrození nového věku. Prague, 1938.
  • GROOT, J. Wie is Baťa : en wat wil hij. Den Haag, 1939.
  • BAROS, Jan. The First Decade of Batanagar. Batanagar, 1945.
  • LEHÁR, Bohumil. Dějiny Baťova koncernu : (1894-1945). Praha, 1960.
  • CEKOTA, Anthony. Entrepreneur Extraordinary : The Biography of Thomas Bata. Rome, 1968.
  • CEKOTA, Antonín. Geniální podnikatel Tomáš Baťa. Toronto, 1981.
  • BAŤA, Tomas. Knowledge in Action : The Bata System of Management (Reflections and Speeches). Amsterdam-Oxford-Tokyo, 1992.
  • VAŇHARA, Josef. Příběh jednoho muže a jednoho města. Zlín, 1994.
  • TRNKA, František. Zlínští podnikatelé Tomáš Baťa a František Čuba. Prague, 1998.
  • Zlín 1900 -1950 : une ville industrielle modèle = model industriálního města; text by P. Novák, L. Horňáková , J.-L.. Cohen et al. Creusot-Montceau, 2002.
  • POKLUDA, Zdeněk. Ze Zlína do světa : příběh Tomáše Bati = From Zlín into the World : The Story of Thomas Bata. Zlín, 2004.
  • GATTI, Alain. Chausser les homes qui vont pieds nus : Bata – Hellocourt, 1931-2001. Metz 2004.
  • ZELENÝ, Milan. Cesty k úspěchu : trvalé hodnoty soustavy Baťa. Kratochvilka, 2005.
  • ERDÉLY, Eugen. Thomas Bata, ein Schuster erobert die Welt. Interna, 2006.
  • Fenomén Baťa – zlínská architektura 1910-1960; Ladislava Horňáková (ed.). Zlín, 2009.
  • The Baťa Phenomenon : Zlín Architecture 1910-1960; Ladislava Horňáková (ed.). Zlín, 2009.
  • ŠEVEČEK, Ondřej. Zrození Baťovy průmyslové metropole : továrna, městský prostor a společnost ve Zlíně v letech 1900-1938. České Budějovice, 2009.
  • EHRENBOLD, Tobias. Bata : Schuhe fűr die Welt, Geschichten aus der Schweiz. Baden, 2012.
  • POKLUDA, Zdeněk. Baťovi muži. Zlín 2012.

Compiled by Z. Pokluda