Production Manager F Dolezal completes 40 years service with Bata
Everyone at East Tilbury will wish to join with Bata Record in extending sincere congratulations to Mr F Dolezal, the Company’s production Manager, who, tomorrow, completes 40 years service with the Bata Shoe Organisation. Nearly 30 of those years have been spent with British Bata, at East Tilbury, and Mr Dolezal declares they have been very happy years, during which the factory has grown out of bare fields and during which he has made many fiends.
He was jus 22 years of age when he first applied to the Bata Shoe Organisation for a job and was engaged by Mr F Kraus, now the Factory Manager at Maryport.
At that time he was an experienced operator on various machines used in the manufacture of women’s textile footwear. Although he did not know it at the time, it was a workshop which the late Tomas Bata, founder of the firm, supervised personally, to put into operation the first conveyor in the factory.
“My first meeting with Mr Bata was after a few minutes in the workshop, when I was working on a machine which had not been in use for some time. I did not realise when someone asked me if I could operate the machine that it was Mr Bata. When I told him I could, he said I could earn better wages than anyone in that case and I did for many months.”
After two years Mr Dolezal became first man in the department and in 1926 he was promoted foreman. “We were producing various styles of textile shoes for the home and export markets at the rate of 4,000 pairs a day and when we received an order for 500,000 pairs, I was able to get the department’s production up to 5,000 a day and it was settled at that figure until the completion of the order.
I was able to get the department’s production up to 5,000 a day and it was settled at that figure until the completion of the order.
“The same year I met a young man from the College who was a very good sportsman. I used to enjoy watching him. Today he is my managing director – Mr John Tusa.
“In 1928 I took over all textile production and by that time it was not so simple as in 1926 for we were using art silk, crepe-de-chene, brocade and textile and leather combinations. Most of the production was for England and the U.S.A.
“It was white crepe-de-chene shoes with a white leather lining which bought me to England in 1930 to settle claims. That was my first visit. Little did I imagine that in 1933 I would be sent to England again to help get the East Tilbury factory started.
“I can still remember, and I hope Mr Marcanik can too, one day when we all worked through to five o’clock in the morning to split one long conveyor into two smaller ones.
“At 7.30 the two conveyors were running and we were back at our jobs after a two hour break.
“In 1934 I was told to take over the leather factory for six months. Next year that six months will have stretched to 30 years and I do not regret a minute of it.
“My wife and I have enjoyed our years at East Tilbury. There were hard times in the beginning, as those “old hands” who were with us in those days know, but we were young and were building our future. There were disappointments, some became discouraged but time and education in shoemaking won in the end and are now reflected in the progress which has been made.
“I still enjoy the company of my friends and, until two years ago, I also enjoyed playing gold for 20 years.”