In 1946 Lance Hill wanted to save his wife from the daily battle with the old wire clothes line and heavy wooden clothes props. In his Adelaide backyard he made a rotary hoist. By simply turning a handle a full line of washing could be raised.
This is a toy version of the Hills Hoist rotary clothes line and marketed as the "Mini-Hoist" between 1956 and 1959. The full-size Hills Hoist was launched in 1946 in Adelaide, South Australia, and designed by Lance Hill. The toy was made so that little girls could hang out their dolls' clothes on a washing line just like their mothers. It stands only 2 feet (61 cm) high and was made by the manufacturer of the full-size clothes lines, Hills Hoist Ltd. The Hills Hoist became Australia's most successful wind-powered rotary clothes drier.
The significant design element of the Hills Hoist were that four arms which rotated to give easy access to all areas of the line instead of walking up the down to peg out washing. The arms could be raised after the washing had been hung out keeping it clear of children and pets. The length of the wires outer was long enough for a double bed sheet. A full load of washing could catch the breeze and rotate, which increased its dying speed. It took up much less room than lines strung across the back yard from two posts and the lawn was no longer full of holes from the clothes props.
With the Victa lawnmower, the Hill's clothes hoist is considered an Australian icon as almost every household would have owned both at one time. The development of the clothes line coincided with the Australian post-War housing boom as demand for homes on quarter-acre blocks in the suburbs escalated. The Hill's Hoist also provided a generation of children born post-War with a rotary "monkey bar" or backyard merry-go-round.
By 1990 five million Hill's Hoists had been made which by then were being marketed as the "world leader in environmentally friendly outdoor drying". Clothes dried on a clothes line look and smell better, keep their shape, do not suffer from static cling, last longer than tumble drying, do not shrink and save money and electricity. By line drying washing an average family will save 300 kg of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere each year.
Curator, Science Technology & Industry
Advertisement in "The Australian Women's Weekly" 5 December 1956, p.25.
Advertisement in "The Australian Women's Weekly 2 December 1959, p.78.
Hills Hoist, Australia Innovates, Powerhouse Museum,
Green Garden Solutions http://www.greenergardensolutions.co.uk/
Harris, David, "Fifty Years of Hills", Hills Printing Services, Edwardstown, S.A., 1996.
“The 5 millionth backyard merry-go-round” in “The Sydney Morning Herald” 27 October ,1990.
McPhee, Margaret, “The Dictionary of Australian Inventions & Discoveries”, Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd, St Leonards, NSW, p.115.