Tomáš Baťa was fascinated by the enormous buildings he saw during his journeys across America. His idea was realised by his brother Jan Antonín Baťa, who was twenty-years younger and was not afraid to start construction of an exceptional building – the tallest building in Czechoslovakia and the second tallest building in Europe, which has a unique element.
The technological virtuosity of this idea emphasises how advanced it is. The office moves without any trembling, jerking or unpleasant shaking. This deluxe idea is wreathed in several myths, such as that it was intended for observing the employees’ diligence. However, it was actually created for the purpose of enabling rapid communication with employees throughout the building.
The lift was admired for many reasons. The actual 6x6 m room is luxuriously equipped. It contains an air-conditioning unit, which maintains a stable temperature of between 18 and 25 degrees. The “room” has it own signalisation equipment and also an automatic fire alarm, a washbasin with hot and cold water and drain. The automatic blind was a special “gadget”, which consisted of a button that, when pressed, hid the window behind a green blind in the case of war. The office also included a Siemens telephone, which was supplied with power from a small distributor, a deluxe wood grain interior, a rustic desk and its own company loudspeaker.
This excellent idea underscores the genius of its inventor. The precision of it execution is proven by the fact that the original floor covering in the lift – Zlinolit – has survived to this day.
A sky-scraper full of great ambition assigned the number 21, with sixteen floors and a total height of 77.5 metres. Apart from its uniqueness and luxury furnishings, this structure is also a rarity because of its ingenious lift. The lift was put into operation in 1939, while J. A. Baťa was abroad. It was only a shame that Jan A. Baťa was unable to use it himself, even though he personally recommended that the architect use a machine room by the Otis Company for it.