GuillotineDuring the French revolution, it was the doctor Joseph Ignace Guillotin, who decided, in a humanitarian gesture, that the guillotine shouldn’t just be for the benefit of the French nobility.

Oh no. In the true spirit of the new French republic, it should be the right of every French citizen to have his or her head cut off by this new machine, as the previous human executioner would sometimes have to hack away several times, before heads would roll!

The guillotine saw off an estimated 40,000 victims during the Revolution among which King Louis XVI, his wife, Marie Antoinette and Revolutionary leaders Robespiere and Danton.

The guillotine continued to be used long after the French Revolution and was the only official and  legal form of execution in France until capital punishment was banned in 1981.

A Price on Your Head

A 19th century French guillotine went up for auction in Nantes in 2014 – and it still worked! The inscription ‘Armees de la Republique,” on the instrument, made of wood, iron, steel and brass, pointed to it having lopped off a few heads during the French Revolution.
Despite a drop of €10,000 on its original reserve price of €50,000 and €60,000 there were no buyers.

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