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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS
The policy of the company owners to their workers was notable for care and humanity, that was not so usual in those years. In particular, the company built Batadorp village near the plant (allowing the workers to get to their workplaces easily) and took care of the worker's spare time. There were built about 130 houses and a private school, medical centre, football and tennis clubs ... These houses can be seen even today, they distinguish from the other buildings with characteristic flat roofs.
Later the town of Best became the main production centre. But in the early years Batadorp village was separated from Best due to lack of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal. The location of manufacturing facilities in the province of Brabant, where the town of Best was located, was chosen due to the presence of accessible and inexpensive labour resources and because of good location: in the proximity there were the railway junction at Eindhoven and intersection of Wilhelmina Canal and Beatrice Canal.
In 1933 the production of rubber soles began, and a year later a wide range of footwear for men, women, children, athletes began to enter the market, including different kinds of footwear from rubber - from slippers to rubber boots.
The manufacturer keeps silence about the period of the Second World War. But one can assume surely that the Dutch and the Czech manufacturing facilities used to supply Wehrmacht (the Armed Forces of the Third Reich) with the produced footwear.
In the 1960s the standard of living and wages in the West Europe increased significantly, so the labour-intensive production facilities had to be moved out, somewhere to the countries with cheaper labour force. During the Vietnam War, "Bata" used to produce "jungle boots" under the contract with the US Department of Defence.
In the late 1970s there has been a specialization of the company in the production of labour and occupational footwear ("safety boots") and socks. In the future, the transition in orientation from ordinary customers to the massive orders from the industry was increasing definitely.
By this time "Bata" company had no longer any need to maintain a large industrial complex, because robotic production has been implementing increasingly. So in 1978 the municipality of Best sold the unused land and buildings, and the Batadorp village itself too. Even the name "Batadorp" disappeared. In the same year the "Bata Nederland BV" company, a subsidiary of "Bata Ltd.", located in Eindhoven, began to manufacture and sell its products in retail.
In the 1980s, under the contract with the Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands, "Bata" has developed a new type of army boots (model M90) and produced the first 90 thousand pairs of boots.
On today "Bata Industrials", as a part of the "Bata Shoe Organisation" association, is a leader in the Benelux countries. It has the manufacturing facilities in various countries around the world. The company's amount of products is from 50 to 100 million US dollars (including up to one million pairs of professional boots and up to 700 thousand pairs of socks), about half of the production is exported.
The company "Gerba B.V." ("Gerba-NL") is located in the Dutch city of Dongen (Hoge Ham 123, Dongen, 5104 Netherlands), was later transformed into a company "Gerba Schoenenfabriken" ("Gerba Windsor Holding BV"). According to the information from the Internet, the company declared bankruptcy on June 20, 2006.
The company "Gerba Shoes BV" (Edisonstraat 6, Goirle, 5051 DS, Nederland), which is still present on the market of professional and occupational footwear, had focused on more profitable market of "safety boots", i.e. the footwear that is certified to European safety standard for occupational footwear - CE EN ISO 20345. By the contract with the Dutch Ministry of Defence, the modified version of the standard M90 combat boots have been delivered as working boots to the Armed Forces.
One can see the following marking (according to EN ISO 20345) on such boots:
- S1 - fully protected areas of the heel and the toe (with steel plates), anti-static and shock-absorbing soles);
- S2 - the same as S1 + waterproof upper;
- S3 - the same as S2 + intermediate protective steel plate in the sole, or "Kevlar" insole;
- S3 - T, a variation S3, plus an extra pad on the toe;
- O2 - compliance with the essential requirements of the standard, including waterproof upper, but without the steel plate in the toe.
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