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Throughout French history there have been a number of various techniques for carrying out capital punishment The guillotine was considered one of the more efficient and humane machines for administering capital punishment This device was introduced as a method of capital punishment in France in 1792 during the French Revolution Prior to the guillotines introduction many French criminals had suffered through horrible punishments in public places such as burning strangulation being broken on a wheel hanging dismemberment beheading and being pulled apart by horses The guillotine was used in France until the abolition of the death penalty under Mitterrand in 1981 The Guillotine The guillotine is a decapitating machine It consists of two upright posts grooved on the inside and connected at the top by a crossbeam A sharp oblique blade placed between the grooves is held at the top of the machine by a rope Tobias Schmidt a German harpsichord-builder and mechanic discovered that an oblique blade at a 45-degree angle should separate the head from the body When the beheading is done mechanically the beheading must cut through slice instead of slash Guillotine History and Construction of the Guillotine On the release of the rope the blade drops onto the neck of the victim strapped to a board at the base of the machine In total the guillotine consists of seven parts the crossbeam the mouton the grooves the d the lunette the bascule and the shield When an execution takes place an assistant executioner called the Photographer stands in front of the guillotine ready to pull the head of the victim forward if he should try to redraw it The shield is there to protect the assistant from the blood splash The guillotine was named after Joseph-Ignace Guillotin a French physician He did not invent the guillotine though his name got stuck to the machine Fabricius The Guillotine Headquarters Dr Tobias Schmidt and Dr Antoine Louis were actually involved in building the
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