10 Interesting Facts about the Guillotine

In this article we will tell you facts about the Guillotine. The equipment is famous for its use in France, especially during the French Revolution, when it “became a part of popular culture”. The Guillotine is a set of equipment made for carrying out executions by cutting off someone’s head. It consists of a tall upright frame in which a weighted and angled blade is raised to the top and suspended.  Let’s explore more interesting facts about the Guillotine through the list below.

Facts about the Guillotine 1: The Halifax Gibbet

Before 1792, there were other beheading machines existed. It was named the Halifax Gibbet which designed from wooden and axe. This wooden structure of two wooden uprights, capped by a horizontal beam, has a total height of 4.5 meters. The blade was an axe head weighing 3.5 kg, attached to the bottom of a massive wooden block that slid up and down in grooves in the uprights.

Facts about the Guillotine 2: The Penalty Tools

Before the use of the Guillotine, there are several tools used for the death penalty. The devices are sword, axe, the breaking wheel and fire. Find out facts about the Dugong here

Facts 2 (The Penalty Wheels)

Facts 2 (The Penalty Wheels)

Facts about the Guillotine 3: Inventor

The actual inventor of the prototype was Antoine Louis. He and German engineer named Tobias Schmidt built a prototype for the guillotine. Schmidt recommended using an angled blade as opposed to a round one.

Facts about the Guillotine 4: Joseph-Ignace Guillotin

Despite the fact that he did not invent the guillotine and opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it. He was a French physician who proposed on 10 October 1789 the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France, as a less painful method of execution.

Facts 4 (Joseph-Ignace Guillotin)

Facts 4 (Joseph-Ignace Guillotin)

Facts about the Guillotine 5: The First Execution

Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first man executed by guillotine. He was executed on 25 April 1792 in front of area which is now the city hall of Paris.

Facts about the Guillotine 6: The Reign of Terror

It was a period of violence that occurred from 5 September 1793 to 28 July 1794 after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girodins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of “enemies of the revolution”.

Facts 6 (The Reign of Terror)

Facts 6 (The Reign of Terror)

Facts about the Guillotine 7: The National Razor

The National Razor was famous term for the guillotine during the French Revolution. It became the symbol of the revolutionary cause, strengthened by a string of executions: King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, the Girondins, Philippe Égalité (Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans), and Madame Roland, and others such as pioneering chemist Antoine Lavoisier, lost their lives under its blade. Find out facts about the First Moon Landing here

Facts about the Guillotine 8: Popular Entertainment

At that time, executions by guillotine were a popular entertainment that attracted great crowds of spectators. Vendors sold programs listing the names of those scheduled to die. Many people came day after day and vied for the best locations from which to observe the proceedings.

Facts 8 (Popular Entertainment)

Facts 8 (Popular Entertainment)

Facts about the Guillotine 9: The Last Person Guillotined in France

On 10 September 1977, Hamida Djandoubi became the last person guillotined in France.

Facts about the Guillotine 10: Guillotines in German

Nazi records indicate that between 1933 and 1945, 16,500 people were executed by guillotine in Germany and Austria. It was used for the last time in West Germany in 1949 (in the execution of Richard Schuh) and in East Germany in 1966 (in the execution of Horst Fischer).

Facts 10 (Guillotines in German)

Facts 10 (Guillotines in German)

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