In the times when there were no buildings on the site of today’s Svit, there was no village from Lučivná to Poprad. It was a long road with only two taverns providing refreshments for travellers. Peasants were working in the fields and didn’t know that an industrial town would soon rise there, completely changing the region. Tomáš Baťa, who was born on 3 April 1876, played an important role in this phase.
History shaped by tragedy
At the beginning of 1934, rumours that a factory was to be built in the foothills of the Tatras began. People from the surrounding villages rejoiced at the prospect of earning money. In the 1930s, industry in Slovakia was underdeveloped. Czech entrepreneurs, therefore, used it to produce raw materials and agricultural products.
At that time, there was an almost unlimited supply of cheap labour, albeit with no professional qualifications. This was probably one of the reasons why the Czech entrepreneur Tomáš Bat’a decided to expand his production in Slovakia.
In the 1930s, Baťa was already a joint-stock company and began to establish subsidiaries across the globe. One of the biggest problems after the war was to secure raw materials for production. It was more profitable to set up one’s own company than to have the necessary materials imported.
As there was already a large consumption of rayon for stockings and shoes, it was decided that rayon and viscose staple would also be produced. Finally, the choice was made for Batizovce.
However, on 12 July 1932, Tomáš Bat’a died in a plane crash while flying to Switzerland to open a new branch. It was his own plane. The management of the company was taken over by his stepbrother Jan Antonín Baťa, who carried out the plan to establish a rayon company.
The first building of the experimental station
A vision adopted from the Czech Republic
Tomáš Baťa founded several companies and estates in Slovakia, for example, in Šimonovany, Nové Zámky or Bratislava. The principles of business and management he applied, were successfully implemented, above all, in Patizánske and Svit.
Employees were provided with housing, as the principle was not to exhaust them with unnecessary travelling. That’s why typical brick houses were built in Svit from the beginning. That allowed them to use their spare time more meaningfully, which was another principle of the Baťa enterprises.
People should spend time outside work on refining their personality, self-education, recreation, sports and, above all, with their family. The food supply through the purchase of basic products directly from the producer was among the main principles of employee care.
Meals were also a natural thing. All single employees ate in the canteen. If the supervisor ordered them to work overtime, he had to provide meals for the employee at the workplace free of charge. The director himself checked the quality of the food.
The first house built in Svit
One final fun fact: there are opinions that Baťa chose this region during his trip to Slovakia when his car broke down near today’s western gate of Chemosvit. While the driver fixed the defect, Baťa took a walk and seeing the beautiful countryside around him, along with the railway and the road, he realised that this was the place he was looking for.
If you are interested in this topic, read our article about the Baťa School of Work in Svit or the background of the city and plant name.