Personality Tomas Bata 1876–1932

Tomas Bata is an example of a person who succeeded in achieving his dream by working hard. He managed to balance morals, efficiency at work, innovation in production, as well as the enhancement of living standard of its employees. The following sections describe the life story of the entrepreneur and visionary from Zlín.

You can find more information about the personality of Tomas Bata and his areas of interest in the attached file.

Personality of
Tomas Bata

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Architecture

1910Architect J. Kotěra
1912family homes
1919Architect F. L. Gahura
1924„A Factory in Gardens“ project
1926–1927the town of gardens urbanism
1930Architect V. Karfík
1931skyscraper urbanism

Employees

1910canteen
1910–1920supporting artists: Gahura, Kobzáň
1912houses for employees
1918company library
1918company kindergarten
1918improving education
1921factory opened for excursions
1921film screenings for employees
1921company band
1924company band
1924SK Baťa sports club
1925, 1930special education: shoemaking: apprentice school (Baťa School of Work), secondary education
1925–1929public education reform (experimental schools in Zlín)
1926employing the handicapped
1927Baťa Hospital
1928Baťa Relief Fund
1928supporting science – Anthropos Brno
1930specialised journals
1930Shoe Museum
1930zoological garden

From Zlín into the World

1894Zlín
1917–1923Pardubice
1919-1921Lynn, USA
1929Otrokovice
1930Krasice
1931Třebíč
1931Bošany
1931Nové Zámky
1931Ottmuth, Germany
1932Borovo, Yugoslavia
1932Chelmek, Poland
1932Möhlin, Switzerland
1932Hellocourt, France
1932Konagar, Tilbury
1917–1932network of approx. 1,800 shops CZ
1919–1932network of approx. 700 shops abroad (from Chicago to Singapore)
1921–1932network of affiliated companies abroad
1931export of factories and architecture

Ideas and Actions

1912T. 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.
1932By 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).
1918T. 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.
1932By 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).
1918Architect 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.
1925–1932Opposite 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).
1919Bata'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".
1924T. 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.
1923T. 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."
1931The 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).
1924Participants 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.
1929The 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.
1931Zlín’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, MayT. 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, NovemberThe first patients were admitted to Zlín’s new hospital.

National Economy

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

Organization of Work

1924workshop autonomy system
1924participation in profit and loss
1924research department (inventions)
1924–1927technological racionalization
1925psychological-technical laboratory
1930five-day working week
193281 % of total shoe production in Czechoslovakia, 75 % of the Czechoslovak shoe export

Public Sector Administration

Zlín 19002 975 inhabitants
Zlín 193226 350 inhabitants
1923Mayor of Zlín
1929Member of the Provincial Council

Work

189550 employees
193129 500 employees
1894precision engineering
1903precision engineering
1909printing
1915tannery
1915power station
1916retail trade
1917agriculture
1917domestic shoe shops
1918forestry
1918brick manufacturing
1918newspaper publishing
1919woodworking plant
1919shoe shops abroad
1919company savings bank
1920advertising
1923shoe-repair shops
1924rubber industry
1924construction industry
1924railway transport
1924air transport
1925construction projects
1926chemical production
1926paper processing
1926lorry transport
1926publishing house
1926cinema
1927film production
1927food production
1928chemical research
1929pedicure
1930–1932tyre production
1930insurance company
1931textile production
1931gas works
1932coal mines
1932hotel
1932shipping

They said about him…

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