Tomáš Baťa and Zlín

Tomáš Baťa

* 3.4.1876, Zlín + 12. 7. 1932, Zlín

Tomaš Baťa was one of the most important Czech entrepreneurs of all time. He was trained as a cobbler in his father's workshop. In 1894, together with his siblings, brother Antonín and sister Anna, he founded a shoe factory in Zlín, which has successfully and dynamically evolved. The company reached its greatest expansion in former Czechoslovakia. After his brother's death in 1908, T. Baťa became the sole owner of the company.
In 1922 Baťa, supported the Rabbi policy Clearance Sale and at significantly reduced prices, created conditions for further developments of his manufacturing business. In this time the study tours abroad also began to introduce modern management principles and organization of work: including manufacturing belts, self-charging production units, and premium and employees shares in profits. The benefits of good advertising were tremendous.
 In 1931 the family business evolved into a public limited company, building up its sister companies and foreign interests, including footwear, except the raw material base and extensive sales network. Baťa factories educated employees in their own school and they provided various social benefits, such as housing, to skilled workers.

Tomáš Baťa and Zlín

The city of Zlín, which was at the time of the birth of Tomáš Baťa just one of the many small towns in Czechoslovakia, after his death Zlin had grown in unprecedented proportions. The company had built department stores, a hotel, a cinema, a large hospital, school buildings, research facilities, film studios and thousands of new apartments. The frenzied construction activity had transformed Zlín into a technological, industrial city. Zlín was not built spontaneously but in modern urban concepts. Due to the affects of significant architects (J. Kotěra, F. L. Gahura, V. Karlík, Le Corbusier, M. Lorencem) Zlín achieved a unique character as a European functionalist city.
From 1923-1932 Tomáš Baťa was mayor of Zlín. During which time, he used an "American" form and Zlín was full of houses with gardens for employees. Baťa also supported other activities including arts, as evidenced by inter alia, the construction of film studios, which were created to support advertising and made the first Czech cartoons.