The History of the Bata Company in Zlín
1894 The T.& A. Baťa Shoe Company is registered in Zlín, Czechoslovakia by the siblings Tomáš, Anna and Antonín Baťa - the eighth generation of shoe-making Batas. Innovative from the beginning the Company quickly departs from the traditional model of a one-man cobblers’ workshop.
1895 Antonin leaves the Company to join the army, his sister Anna follows shortly after to get married. Tomáš Baťa takes over the company leadership alone.
1897 Tomas introduces the “Batovka”, the first fabric shoe and with it production mechanization.
1905 Production reaches 2,200 pairs per day, produced by 250 employees. Constant innovation of footwear to meet customers’ needs. Tomáš Baťa’s motto is “Our customer is our Master.”
1909 First export sales and first sales agencies in Germany, in the Balkans and in the Middle East. Bata shoes are of excellent quality and are available in more styles than had ever been offered before. Demand grows rapidly.
1917 Sales reach 2 million pairs per year produced by 5000 employees. Advanced production equipment is imported. As the Company prospers so do the communities where it operates. Bata creates stores, builds housing, schools and hospitals near factories.
1922 Following the first world war currencies are devalued and consumer purchasing power is at an all time low. Bata cuts shoe prices by 50%; stores are flooded with customers forcing the industry to follow the lead.
1925 The “Bata system” organizes operations in autonomous workshops with employee profit sharing introduced since 1923. Each one in the company is an entrepreneur. The Bata School of Work founded. It provides rigorous education and practical training to future Bata managers.
1929 Introduction of customs tariffs. Bata responds by building factories in Swiss, Germany, England, France, Yugoslavia, Poland, Holland, the USA and India By the early 1930s, Bata is the world’s leading footwear exporter.
1932 Tomáš Baťa is killed in a plane crash on the way to visit a factory under construction in Switzerland. Under the leadership of Tomáš Baťa's uncle, Jan Baťa, the company intensifies diversification into the production of tires, aircrafts, bicycles, machineries. Thomas J. Bata, the young son of Tomáš Baťa, convenes the 1st international congress of young Bata people.
1939 Bata operates 63 companies in various industries but footwear remains the core business with 60 million pairs sold per year in more than 30 countries.
1940 Part of the Company management under the leadership of Thomas J. Bata starts to operate from Batawa, near Toronto, Canada.
1945 All Bata companies in Eastern European countries are nationalized by communist governments. The Company starts rebuilding itself from the remaining entities located outside Eastern Europe.
1960s The Company’s headquarters are officially relocated in Toronto under the leadership of Thomas J. Bata.
1989 With the fall of Communism, Thomas Bata is invited by the new president, Vaclav Havel, to return to the Czech Republic and receives a hero's welcome. A chain of shoe stores is opened with the headquarters in Zlin, and a small shoemaking factory begins operations in Dolmi Nenci.
For a look at the Bata Shoe Organization today, please visit www.bata.com