Invention of the First Rotary Clothes Line

Lance Hill's clothes hoist became a symbol of Australian home life in the 1950s but Lance Hill did not invent the rotary clothes hoist. Gilbert Toyne patented one in Adelaide in 1926, which was sold in small numbers until the early 1960s.

In 1945, Lance Hill returned to Adelaide from war. His wife complained that her traditional clothesline between two posts (propped up in the middle by a stick) was in the way of the lemon tree. Hill's answer was to design a compact rotary line out of metal tube and wire. He was unemployed and turned his idea into a livelihood.

His first batch was made with tubing salvaged from the frame of the underwater boom that had hung under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to catch enemy submarines during World War II. He designed a cast aluminium winding gear to hoist the line up into the breeze - and the Hill's hoist was born ... at just the right time and place to become spectacularly successful.