Czech Republic

The Bata company, founded in 1894, became a well-known company, and in the interwar period it helped shape the form of Czechoslovak industry. Its operation was interrupted by nationalization in 1945, and the use of the company’s name was forbidden throughout the communist period. After the restoration of democracy, the Bata company returned to the country in 1991.

Development of the Bata company between 1894 and 1992

  • In September 1894, siblings Anna, Antonín and Tomas Bata together founded a family shoe factory in Zlín (A. Bata, Zlín).
  • In 1895, Tomas Bata took over the management of the company (his brother Antonín performed military service between 1895 and 1898).
  • In 1897, the company introduced the production of a successful model – shoes called “baťovky”; between 1897 and 1899 the company’s assets increased threefold to 30,700 florins.
  • In 1898, sister Anna got married (Schieblová) and left the company; Tomas and Antonín remained shareholders of the company.
  • In 1899, Tomas Bata visited Frankfurt am Main and brought several simple machines to Zlín.
  • In 1900, the company of shareholders Tomas and Antonín Bata was registered in the Company Register as “T. & A. Bata, Production of Canvas and Felted Wool Footwear”; the company with approximately 120 employees moved to a newly built factory near the Zlín railway station.
  • 1905 (January-April) – Tomas Bata gained experience in industrial enterprises in the USA; he later stayed in England and Germany.
  • 1906 – a modern three-storey factory building which was inspired by the American buildings was constructed; in 1909, another adjacent factory building was purchased in addition to the growing factory premises.
  • 1908 – after his brother Antonín passed away, Tomas Bata remained the sole owner of the company.
  • Between 1906 and 1912 the company’s assets increased fourfold to CZK 2,100,000.
  • 1912 – the first residential houses for employees were built.
  • 1914 – the company had 400 employees; it exported its products abroad (to Germany).
  • 1914–1918 – during the World War the number of employees rose to 4,100; the operations of the factory were reoriented to the production of leather shoes, supplying the army in particular.
  • 1917 – the first Bata shoe stores were opened.
  • Between 1918 and 1920 – post-war crisis – the number of employees of the factory fell to 2,100.
  • 1918 – training courses focused on the enhancement of employees’ knowledge and skills were introduced in the company.
  • 1918–1924 – a wave of expansion into Europe, Africa and America (stores, subsidiary companies, a factory in the USA)
  • 1919–1920 Tomas Bata’s trip to the USA; including, beside others, a visit to the automobile factories of Henry Ford and Endicott-Johnson shoe company
  • 1922 – by reducing the price of shoes by 50%, Bata company expanded the sales of its products and gained a leading position on the Czechoslovak shoe market.
  • 1923 – T. Bata was elected Mayor of the town of Zlín.
  • 1924–1927 Bata management system: employees’ share in profits, self-management of workshops, technological rationalization
  • 1924 – the project designed by architect F. L. Gahura entitled “Factory in the Gardens” was created; the construction of modern premises of Bata factories (Gahura, or the so-called “Zlín/Bata architecture”) commenced.
  • 1925–1930 – Bata company established its own research units in many fields – agriculture, engineering, civil engineering, chemistry, healthcare, pedagogy.
  • 1925 – T. Bata’s first visit to India
  • 1925 – Bata company established its own corporate vocational school – Bata School of Work
  • 1926 – visit to the USA
  • 1927 – Mayor T. Bata announced his programme to build Zlín as a garden town.
  • 1927 – Bata Hospital in Zlín was opened.
  • 1924–1928 economic growth: the number of employees increased almost fourfold to 13,100 people; production increased fourfold to 14,300,000 pairs of shoes; the company’s balance sheets increased more than threefold to CZK 250,100,000
  • 1929 – great expansion of the Bata company into the whole world – global company: establishment of subsidiaries, opening of stores, building of factories
  • 1929 – reform of public education – Zlín experimental education
  • 1931 – T. & A. Bata company was transformed into a joint-stock company – Bata a. s. Zlín, owner – Tomas Bata
  • 1929–1932 – development of the company during the economic crisis (data for the whole of Czechoslovakia): the number of employees doubled to 25,000 people; production rose two and a half times to 36,300,000 pairs of shoes; the company’s balance sheets increased almost fourfold to CZK 940,000,000
  • 12 July 1932 – Tomas Bata died in an air accident.
  • 1932–1933 – complicated succession proceedings with official transfer of property (shares, among others Jan A. Bata, widow Marie Baťová)
  • 1933–1939 management board of the company: Jan A. Bata, Dominik Čipera, Hugo Vavrečka
  • 1933–1937 – development of the company after the economic crisis (data for the whole of Czechoslovakia): the number of employees rose from 25,000 to 42,000; production rose from 36,300,000 to 47,800,000 pairs of shoes; balance sheets increased from CZK 940,000,000 to CZK 1,226,800,000
  • 1937–1939 corporate institutes providing higher levels of education: Technical School (1937), Tomášov (1938), School of Arts (1939)
  • 1939–1945 – management board of the company: Dominik Čipera, Hugo Vavrečka, Josef Hlavnička; almost all component parts of the Bata company in the territory of the Protectorate were preserved in the possession of shareholders, so they remained in Czech hands (in October 1939, the company’s shares were divided in such a manner that there were five more shareholders, namely D. Čipera, H. Vavrečka, J. Hlavnička, F. Malota and H. Bata)
  • World War II –Zlín headquarters retained its connection to the component parts of the company in the sphere of influence of Germany and Italy, in addition, subsidiaries in Britain and overseas in the middle of the war (1941–1942) coordinated their activities and connected them with the activities of Thomas J. Bata in Canada.
  • 1945 – in May the Bata factories were subordinated to the national administration, and in October nationalized by presidential decree.
  • 1991 – the return of Thomas J. Bata: Bata ČSFR a. s., Prague was established; it was transformed into Bata a. s. Zlín in 1993.

Organization and management

Self-management of workshops (1924)

  • Bata company was divided into smaller units that had independent management and ran separate accounting systems – workshops, shops, purchasing and other economic departments. The company accounting office recorded an overview of economic centres every six months. Workshops and other similar departments, as self-governing units, traded with each other at fixed clearing prices. The workshop’s budget included only those costs that could be influenced by the workshop itself. This decentralised system allowed for the flexible development of all component parts of the company as a whole.

Share in profits (1924)

  • In 1924, a profit-sharing system was introduced, which supported the motivation of workers and at the same time the competitiveness of teams (workshops). This was a financial bonus paid within the workshop according to the jointly achieved economic result. The sums of money according to the relevant workshops appeared every week in the newspaper published by the company. Workers in the workshops had a share in profit, people with more responsibility had a share in profit and loss.

Technological rationalization (1924–1927)

  • Tomas Bata constantly strived to use state-of-the-art machines. In order to be self-sufficient, he expanded the section of construction and standardization in the Zlín engineering works between 1924 and 1927. In 1927, assembly lines designed for the production of footwear were put into operation. It was an original design of Bata’s factories, which thus got to the top in terms of the development towards industrial automation.

Well-arranged accounting

  • One of the key components of Bata management system was clear and simple accounting. Its pillar was the weekly deadlines. They were set on a fixed date and gave a perfect picture of the production, trade and the overall economy of the company. The one-week deadline forced immediate resolution of problems, allowing maximum flexibility in decision-making.

Planning – assumptions

  • The perfect relationship between production and sales was helped by the preparation of plans – “assumptions” in the Bata language. Detailed half-year plans were prepared – assumptions for workshops and other economic departments. A weekly assumption was based on the half-year plan, which was determined both in quantity (pieces, kilograms, etc.) and in parallel in value terms (CZK). Daily production schedules were based on the weekly assumption.


  • The calculation department significantly contributed to the efficiency of production. Its task was to pre-calculate production costs – these included preliminary calculations and adjusted calculations, if necessary. The department set internal clearing prices, which were calculated as accurately and responsibly as possible in order to exert reasonable pressure on performance and quality after they were handed over to the workshops.

Interconnection between production and sales

  • Continuous supplying of domestic and foreign stores was ensured by the interconnection between trade and production. Stores announced their requirements – orders, and according to them, the workshops were set daily production schedules – assumptions.

Bata’s service to the public

  • Bata’s service to the public – Tomas Bata had been promoting his programme in public since 1922. The principle was to pay high wages to the workers, and to offer goods at low prices to the customers. Bata achieved this goal by deploying state-of-the-art technology and by implementing the production principle: Big turnover, small profit.

Production and business

  • In 1894, the production of shoes began in Bata’s workshop in rented rooms on the Zlín Square. The workshop employed 10 workers and another 40 worked in households. In 1897, popular lightweight shoes (the so-called “baťovky”) began to be produced there, and the company prospered very well in the following years. From 1899, production was accelerated by newly acquired machines, and a year later the first factory building was built; the company employed 120 people at that time. Other buildings were soon constructed near the first factory building, and in the following years a large factory complex was built there. In 1908, after the death of his brother Antonín, Tomas Bata remained the sole owner of the company. Between 1899 and 1912, his company’s net worth increased almost forty times to CZK 2,121,732.
  • In 1914, Bata had 400 employees in the Zlín factory. After the outbreak of war, his company and other shoe factories in Zlín received orders for the supply of military footwear. These extensive orders resulted in a great growth in the production sector of Bata company and expansion of the factory premises; by 1918, the number of employees had grown to 4,000. A significant stimulus for the further development of the business was the opening of a network of Bata’s own stores in 1917.
  • Post-war economic difficulties reduced the number of Bata’s employees almost by half, and at the beginning of 1920 the company was threatened with execution. After averting it, Bata sought a way to customers and completed these efforts in 1922 with a fifty percent reduction in the price of his shoes. He secured sales and dominated the Czechoslovak market. In the following years he expanded the network of his stores, in 1932 there were 1,848 of them in Czechoslovakia and the local market was almost saturated.
  • Between 1923 and 1929, the Bata company developed in all directions. The number of employees increased almost sixfold (11,760), the company’s turnover increased almost fourfold (236 million), and thirteen new lines of business were initiated. When the symptoms of the Great Depression started to appear in 1929, Tomas Bata focused on significant expansion abroad, while at the same time managing to maintain a high level of exports. The crisis was reflected in a fluctuation in the number of employees (1932 – 25,000 people).
  • After the death of Tomas Bata in 1932, the three-member leadership team – Jan A. Bata, Dominik Čipera and Hugo Vavrečka – took over the management. The development of the company continued with the growth of the number of employees (1937 – 42,000 people) and also with the expansion of engineering and rubber plants. New stores were also opened and their number in Czechoslovakia increased to 2,082.
  • After the Munich Agreement of 1938, numerous stores and some industrial plants found themselves in the breakaway territories of the Sudetenland and southern Slovakia; after 14 March 1939, shops and factories in Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia were also separated. In 1939 the company managed to invest in the construction of new factories in Sezimovo Ústí and Zruč nad Sázavou, but in the following war years the business of the Bata company in the territory of the Protectorate was limited by the occupation authorities and wartime economic conditions. After the liberation in May 1945, the existing management board of the company was removed and nationalization followed in October 1945.

Business areas

  • 1903 mechanical engineering (Zlín, Otrokovice, Sezimovo Ústí)
  • 1909 printing house (Zlín)
  • 1910 catering services – serving of meals
  • 1915 tannery (Zlín, Otrokovice, Třebíč, Brno)
  • 1916 wood processing (Lukov, Růžďka, Bystřička, Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1916 retail (Zlín – 1916 consumer cooperative, 1927 Bapoz, s. s r. o)
  • 1917 agriculture (Zlín, Březolupy, Třebíč, Napajedla, Třemešek, Sezimovo Ústí, Zruč n. S.)
  • 1917 power plant (Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1917 network of shoe stores – national
  • 1918 network of shoe stores – abroad
  • 1918 forestry (Zlín – Bata Relief Fund, etc.)
  • 1918 brick field (Zlín, Malenovice)
  • 1918 newspaper publishing (Zlín)
  • 1919 paper mill (Želechovice, Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1919 company savings bank (Zlín)
  • 1920 advertising department (Zlín)
  • 1923 workshops designed for shoe repair
  • 1924/1931 railway transport (Otrokovice-Zlín-Vizovice)
  • 1924 air transport (airport: Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1924 rubber processing plant (Zlín, Napajedla)
  • 1924 construction department (Zlín)
  • 1925 construction planning and architectural design (Zlín)
  • 1926 lorry transport services (Zlín)
  • 1926 chemical production (Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1926 book publishing (Zlín)
  • 1927 cinema
  • 1927 film production (Zlín, Praha-Hostivař)
  • 1927 food processing (Zlín)
  • 1929 podiatry
  • 1930 insurance company (Prague)
  • 1931 textile – socks, hosiery (Zlín, Otrokovice, Třebíč)
  • 1931 gasworks (Zlín)
  • 1932 tyres (Zlín)
  • 1932 coal mines (Dubňany, Ratíškovice, Milotice, Šardice, Rohatec)
  • 1932 sea shipping
  • 1932 hotel (Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1932/1936 production of aircrafts (Zlín, Otrokovice)
  • 1934/1936 artificial fibres (Otrokovice)
  • 1934 rubber plantations
  • 1937 wholesale abroad
  • 1938 river transport (Otrokovice, Rohatec)
  • 1939 medical spa

Relevant places

  • 1894 Zlín, factory premises
  • (1899 Kelč, Bílsko in Bohemia, provisional workshops)
  • 1917-1924 Pardubice (factory 1917-1922, workshop designed for shoe repair 1922-1923, factory 1924)
  • (1916 Lukov, sawmill hire)
  • (1917 Krásno, sawmill hire)
  • 1919 Želechovice, papermill
  • 1920 Růžďka, sawmill
  • 1923 Prague, shoe repair workshop (modern four-storey building constructed in Prague – Vršovice 1927); film studios (Prague – Hostivař facility hire, 1939-1940); Atlas, vzájemná pojišťovna; Česká obchodní banka, a. s.; Kotva-Import-Export, s. s r. o.; Plodinová společnost a. s.; Národní vydavatelská společnost, s. s r. o.; Průmyslová a velkoobchodní a. s.; Methan, s. s r. o.; Most, tisková a vydavatelská s. s r. o.
  • 1927 Bystřička, sawmill
  • 1929 Otrokovice, factory premises
  • 1930/1933 Krasice, factory
  • 1931 Třebíč, factory
  • 1932 Dubňany, mines
  • 1932 Ratíškovice, mines
  • 1935 Napajedla, factory
  • 1935 Prostějov, factory
  • 1938 Chrastava, factory
  • 1938 Krásná Lípa, factory
  • 1938 Železný Brod, lime-kiln
  • 1938 Malenovice, brick field
  • 1939 Brno, tannery (E. Bloch)
  • 1939 Sezimovo Ústí, factory
  • 1939 Zruč nad Sázavou, factory
  • 1939 Rohatec, mines, marble stonework factory
  • 1939 Milotice, mines
  • 1939 Šardice, mines
  • 1940 Velké Tresné, graphite mines
  • 1992 Dolní Němčí, factory


  • 1917-1945, 1991 network of shoe stores
  • 1924 railway (Otrokovice-Zlín-Vizovice; Prostějov-Třebovice)
  • 1938 navigation channel (Otrokovice-Rohatec)


  • 1917, 1929 Zlín, country estate
  • 1918 Loučka, Lázy, country estate
  • 1929 Březolupy, country estate
  • 1931 Třebíč, agriculture
  • 1935 Napajedla, country estate
  • 1938 Třemešek, country estate
  • 1939 Sezimovo Ústí, country estate
  • 1939 Zruč nad Sázavou, country estate
  • 1939 Vsetín, country estate


  • Courses focused on the enhancement of knowledge and skills. In 1918, Tomas Bata began to offer evening educational courses for his employees, gradually in various fields, including tannery, shoemaking, foreign languages, business theory, shorthand, typing and many others. The aim was to connect production practice with additional theoretical training. An extensive system of evening courses gave rise to the newly established Tertiary People’s School of Tomas Bata in 1932. After 1935, mainly foreign language classes were provided. The Study Institute established in 1935 had a special position. In the Institute, in addition to technological evening courses, scientific research activities in the fields of shoemaking, tannery, engineering, chemistry, geology, agriculture were significantly represented, and there was also a national economic department.
  • Professional education
    • Bata School of Work. Under this name, Tomas Bata founded his own corporate vocational school in 1925. Fourteen-year-old boys (from 1929 onwards, also girls) received an apprenticeship certificate after completing four years of studies. They were accommodated in a large area of boarding houses, and were taught to become self-reliant, responsible, thrifty and orderly. In addition to apprentices from Czechoslovakia, boys from abroad – Switzerland, Yugoslavia, France, Germany, Poland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Egypt, India – also received training in the school from 1931 onwards.
    • Master School. After completing the first two years of Bata School of Work, the Young Men were able to advance to a higher educational level – the Master School. During the 1930s, eight specializations were gradually developed there, namely footwear, tannery, chemical, mechanical and civil engineering, rubber, knitting and electrical engineering.
    • Technical School. It was established by the Bata company in 1937. The school was attended by graduates of the Bata School of Work, who studied a number of specializations at the Industrial School: footwear, mechanical engineering, tannery, chemical, civil and electrical engineering. Students were accommodated in boarding houses and took classes after working hours. The first graduates of this secondary school graduated in June 1941.
    • Tomášov was the name of a corporate school of managers. The school provided two-years’ education, focused on foreign languages and development of social intercourse skills (etiquette, dining, horseback riding …). The institution’s operation ended after the outbreak of the Second World War.
    • School of Arts. In the building of the Study Institute II (to the right of the Tomas Bata Memorial), the School of Art began to provide classes in September 1939. It was intended to provide four years of education in artistic specializations, namely graphics, decorative painting, sculpture, housing culture; there were also two special departments – sculpture and restoration.
  • Public education
    • After he was elected Mayor of Zlín in 1923, Tomas Bata wanted to raise the level of public education. From 1925 onwards he tried to introduce experimental methods in the education of school pupils. Three main principles were formulated: preparation of young people for practical vocations, joint meetings of parents and teachers, increased financial remuneration of teachers.
    • In 1929, permission was obtained from the Ministry of Education to introduce a programme of experimental education at the Masaryk Experimental Secondary School in Zlín. Tomas Bata acquired a school expert Stanislav Vrána for the new programme, who in the following years greatly contributed to the development of experimental education. The programme proved successful and soon spread to Otrokovice. Pupils came to schools that were characterized not only by modern experimental methods, but also by a beautiful environment. In 1928, a modern new building of the Masaryk Schools was opened, and by 1940 a dozen similarly student-friendly buildings were constructed.

Public sector administration

  • By winning the municipal elections in 1923, Bata’s ticket won a majority in the Zlín town council and Tomas Bata himself was elected Mayor. He was then re-elected and remained in the office of Mayor until the end of his life in 1932. He was the owner of the largest factory in the town, and his goal was to serve the society and take care of the municipality-owned property. During his tenure, he managed to introduce clear accounting in the town finances.
  • The further development of Zlín was accelerated by three of Bata’s reforms. Between 1925 and 1929, he put into practice the reform of public education. In 1926 he pushed through the reduction of local taxes as well as tax stability and thus attracted a large number of tradesmen, merchants and craftsmen to Zlín; Zlín became a convenient place for business. In 1927 he proclaimed the concept of building Zlín as a garden town, which gave Zlín a completely new face.
  • During the nine years when Bata held the office of Mayor, the population of Zlín increased fivefold to more than 26,000 people and the town expanded in all directions. On the western edge of the town, in addition to the factory premises, the Labour Square (Náměstí Práce) was built. Bata’s first department store – today’s Tržnice (Market Hall) – stood there. Other important buildings were later built: a new department store, a hotel, the Grand Cinema. Labour Square has become a new important centre of social life. The built-up area expanded to the east, where large residential areas with family houses were built. In the easternmost part, the premises of the Bata Hospital were built in 1927. The premises included a group of pavilions surrounded by park greenery and were built according to the project by architect F. L. Gahura.
  • In addition to his duty as Mayor, Bata accepted membership in the provincial council in 1929, and by donating CZK 1,000,000 to the telephone line installation in municipalities he contributed to the development of the whole of Moravia. At the same time, Bata made great efforts to make Zlín the seat of the administrative district.
  • After Bata’s death in 1932, his closest collaborator Dominik Čipera was elected Mayor. At the same time, he belonged to the top management of the Bata factories, so he also represented the symbiosis between the town of Zlín and the factory, and that throughout his tenure until 1945. His tenure was ended only by political upheavals after the end of the Second World War.
  • The importance of the office of the Zlín Mayor increased with the growing role of Zlín, where a large number of people from the wider area found employment. In addition, the development of industry spread from Zlín to nearby Otrokovice (1929) and Napajedla (1935). The three towns formed a triangle of the Zlín – Otrokovice – Napajedla industrial agglomeration.
  • After winning the municipal elections in 1935, Mayor Dominik Čipera developed greater cooperation with representatives of public sector administration in the wider area. Together they tried to promote development programmes, and in 1936 they created the Regional Body of Zlín for the territory of the districts of Bystřice pod Hostýnem, Vsetín, Vizovice, Valašské Klobouky, Bojkovice, Uherský Brod, Uherské Hradiště, Napajedla, Zdounky, Kroměříž, Holešov, Zlín. Projects were developed to improve transportation, public buildings, etc.
  • Municipalities in the vicinity of Zlín participated in the prosperity of Bata factories. Their inhabitants had high earnings there, they built new houses; the Bata company supported the construction of schools in the said municipalities, etc. In 1930s, the neighbouring villages became closer to Zlín and the development of this relation resulted in the villages merging together. In the municipal elections in the spring of 1938, the inhabitants of the villages of Prštné, Louky, Mladcová, Příluky, Kudlov elected a joint town council, which was then called Velký Zlín (Great Zlín).
  • Hugo Vavrečka, a member of the central management of the Bata company, a former diplomat, was appointed by the Czechoslovak government as the General Secretary of the Economic Headquarters for Central Europe (1936) to strengthen the economic relations of the Small Agreement states; he was also appointed Commissioner General for Czechoslovak participation in the World Exhibition in New York (1938). At the time of the Munich crisis, the President appointed him Minister of Government (September – November 1938).
  • For the needs of Zlín and the growing agglomeration Zlín – Otrokovice – Napajedla, it was necessary to ensure good transport links. Dominik Čipera did so both in his office as Mayor of Zlín and as a member of the management of Bata factories and also as Minister of Public Works. The opening of the Otrokovice – Rohatec water canal in 1938 improved river transportation. In the section Vizovice – Horní Lideč a railway was being built. At the beginning of 1939, work began on the construction of the Brno – Zlín – Žilina motorway. In 1944, trolleybus transport was introduced in Zlín.


  • Tomas Bata started with the construction of production buildings in 1900 with the first building opposite the Zlín railway station. Next to it, he had a modern three-storey factory building constructed in 1906 – a year after his return from the USA, and the design of the building was inspired by the American factory construction.
  • In 1912, the construction of Tomas Bata Villa was completed according to the design of the prominent Prague architect Jan Kotěra. Similarly, the first houses for employees were built on the outskirts of the Bata factory premises according to his design in the same year. In 1918, Kotěra prepared an urban design for the development of the area south of the factory (residential houses, business network, cultural, educational, community buildings, hotel). The construction took place between 1925 and 1932 under the leadership of Kotěra’s student František Lýdie Gahura.
  • In 1924, architect Gahura prepared the design of the “Factory in the Gardens” with typical red-and-white buildings (inspired by the factory construction of Ford factories in the USA). This architectural style of Gahura was immediately applied in the construction of educational, commercial and other buildings in the vicinity of the factory (Labour Square) and in other parts of the town. At the same time, further construction took place according to Gahura’s urban plans – mainly typical brick houses for employees grouped into several neighbourhoods surrounding Zlín. This type of construction was labelled as the “Bata architecture” or “Zlín architecture”. The greenery of gardens and parks has become its typical feature. In 1927, Tomas Bata announced a programme to build Zlín as a “garden town”.
  • In the initial period, Bata commissioned construction to contractors. In 1924, he established his own company building department for growing construction sector (from 1930 Zlínská stavební a. s.).
  • In addition to Gahura, Tomas Bata recruited other important architects to collaborate– Vladimír Karfík (1930) and Miroslav Lorenc. In the 1930s, other architects were recruited, namely Antonín Vítek, Robert Podzemný, Jiří Voženílek.
  • The architectural jewels of the current Zlín date back to the interwar period: hospital (1927, F. L. Gahura), Department Store (1931, F. L. Gahura), hotel (1932, M. Lorenc and V. Karfík), Grand Cinema (1932, F. L. Gahura), Tomas Bata Memorial (1933, F. L. Gahura), evangelical church (1936, V. Karfík), school district (F. L. Gahura, M. Lorenc, V. Karfík), Study Institutes (1936, 1938, F. L. Gahura), administrative building of the Bata company, the so-called skyscraper (1939, V. Karfík).

Industrial and garden towns

  • In addition to the factory premises, Tomas Bata built residential houses (1912), entire residential quarters (1918), school buildings (1924), boarding houses (1926), department stores (1926), sports stadiums (1926), hospital (1927), hotel (1932), cultural facilities for his employees and for the inhabitants of Zlín. During this construction, the emphasis on greenery surrounding the built-up area grew: F. L. Gahura’s project “Factory in Gardens” (1924), the concept for further construction of modern Zlín as an “industrial and garden town” (1926-1927). By the construction of the factory premises of the nearby Labour Square (1925-1932) and residential quarters a system of various types of buildings was created, which became a model for construction also outside Zlín. And so, from 1929, Bata’s garden and industrial towns grew up in Czechoslovakia and abroad.


  • On the piece of land called “Bahňák”, purchased in 1929, Tomas Bata began to build a factory and industrial complex, later called Baťov.
  • An airport was established there (1929), a large industrial complex with tanneries and a number of other industries (1930-1936); between 1932 and 1936, the number of employees increased from 324 to 2,426.
  • Between 1931 and 1938, 334 houses for employees were built, in addition, Baťov was equipped with a number of buildings, namely schools, department store, Community Centre (hotel, cinema, etc.), sports grounds.
  • Thanks to the development of Bahňák – Baťov, the number of inhabitants of the whole Otrokovice increased significantly, from 2,009 (in 1930) to 7,322 (in 1945).
  • The business of the Bata company significantly contributed to strengthening the role of Otrokovice as a transport centre. In addition to the railway, an airport was built (1929, 1931), followed by a river navigation and irrigation canal Otrokovice-Rohatec (1938).


  • During the economic crisis, Tomas Bata purchased two tanning factories in Třebíč in 1931 and maintained production there.
  • In the purchased older factory buildings the production of leather shoes continued, operation in other buildings was transformed – leather processing was replaced by the production of stockings (1935); instead of the removed older buildings, two modern five-storey factory buildings were built (1935-1936); with the growth of the factory, the number of employees increased from 1,384 to 2,429 between 1931 and 1942.
  • Between 1931 and 1939, about 170 family houses were built; the inhabitants could use the services provided by the Community Centre, a department store and a sports stadium.
  • An industrial complex with a residential and community zone located on the outskirts of the town in Třebíč – Borovina acquired the character of an industrial and garden town with typical architectural features of the Bata period.

Zruč nad Sázavou

  • In order to expand the production of footwear, the Bata company purchased plots of land in Zruč nad Sázavou at the beginning of 1939; provisional production began in May in an adapted building.
  • The construction of the production area began in August 1939 and was dominated by two factory five-storey buildings; in 1939-1942 the number of employees increased from 432 to 1,365.
  • In addition to the construction of the production area, a residential area was also built with 149 dwellings with 325 apartments in 1942; there were also the Community Centre (1941) and a sports stadium.
  • Thanks to the development of the company’s industrial and residential area, the total population of Zruč nad Sázavou increased significantly, from 993 (in 1930) to 2,263 (in 1945).

 Sezimovo Ústí

  • In summer 1939, the Bata company purchased land in the cadastre of Sezimovo Ústí with the aim of expanding engineering production.
  • Between 1939 and 1941, a production area comprising six factory buildings was built; in 1943, 1,687 people worked there.
  • During the construction of the residential area between 1939 and 1942, 179 houses with 381 apartments were built; the inhabitants could use the services provided by the Community Centre (1940), a school and a nursery school.
  • Thanks to the development of Bata’s industrial and residential area, the number of inhabitants of the entire Sezimovo Ústí significantly increased, from 1,420 (in 1939) to 3,153 (in 1945).

Expansion abroad

  • Bata’s exporting activities to foreign countries, which commenced in 1914 (Germany, England) were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Only after its end could export from Zlín be resumed, especially to the countries of the former monarchy.
  • In 1918, Tomas Bata operated his first stores abroad (Austria, Poland, Yugoslavia, Romania). At the same time, he had his factories in Poland (1918-1920) and in the USA (1919-1921) for a short time.
  • In 1919, Tomas Bata began to establish affiliate companies abroad – first in the USA, and between 1920 and 1924 also in other countries – Yugoslavia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Norway and Egypt.
  • Between 1924 and 1928, Bata exported shoes and sold them in foreign countries mainly through local wholesalers. From the spring of 1929 he accelerated his efforts to expand abroad, and in quick succession expanded his own sales network there. This was associated with the establishment of other affiliated companies, and between 1931 and 1932 factories were constructed (Germany, Yugoslavia, Poland, Switzerland, France).
  • In 1932, Tomas Bata had his affiliate companies, shops and factories in 56 countries on four continents. At that time, the number of foreign stores reached 666. In 1931, 72% of the entire Czechoslovak export of footwear was exported from Zlín.
  • After 1932, export activities continued to develop, and in 1939 the company did business in about 90 countries around the world. Ten other factories and a large number of stores were opened abroad. In Yugoslavia, France, Holland, the local factories of the Bata company produced not only footwear, but also tires, textile goods and machines.


  • Z. Pokluda – J. Herman – M. Balaban, Baťa na všech kontinentech, Zlín 2020, ISBN 978-80-7454-928-1
  • Moravský zemský archiv v Brně – Státní okresní archiv Zlín, Česko