The Content of The Guillotine Headquarters site

Page Content

The homepage with links to other pages (On the other pages the logo is a shortcut link to the homepage).

Why was it necessary to use a machine for beheading?

"Every person condemned to the death penalty shall have his head severed" was the text approved by The French National Assembly. The Executioner Charles-Henri Sanson had an opinion about that. A machine was built, tested, modified and made ready for the first execution by guillotine which took place on April 25th 1792.

Build your own model

Here you have the opportunity to buy construction drawings for the 1792 model in a scale 1:5. And with the right measurements build your own model guillotine. You can see how to assemble all the parts before you buy the drawings. That allows you to assess the severity of the task before buying.


Here you can compare the 1792 and the 1870 model, and find an explanation of most guillotine parts such as the "bascule" and the "déclic".

The 1792 model

Here is an explanation of the 1792 guillotine and most of the parts such as the "bascule" and the "lunette".

The 1792 model in scale 1:5

This 1792 model was built during the summer of 2001 as a result of many years of research, and many hours of drawing. It was built in scale 1:5

The 1870 model

Here is an explanation of the 1870 guillotine and most of the parts such as the "déclic" and the "mouton".

Test your knowledge

A small quiz with 6 guillotine related questions. See if you can get maximum points.


Pictures of guillotines. Some are photos of scale models and some are of real guillotines. There are also some 3D computer modeled pictures.


Mechanical beheading was known long before the French guillotine was invented. Follow the history from the middle ages up to the present.

The last public execution

The execution of Eugene Weidmann took place in 1939. It was the last public execution in France.

German Machines

Examples of guillotines used in "The Third Reich"


Many people have been in contact with the guillotine over the years. Here you will find some of them.

The guillotine in Venlo

An old 1795-1805 guillotine. It is on display in Venlo (Holland)


What causes someone to create a guillotine site?

The Halifax Gibbet

A precursor to the guillotine from Great Britain.

Does the head survive?

A report about an experiment with a severed head.

Books about the guillotine

Read more about the guillotine in these books. Some of them are available on the internet.

The Guillotine in Bruges

In Bruges Belgium there is a real guillotine on display.

Executions 1879 - 1977

A list of dates, places and people.

The Scottish Maiden

A precursor to the guillotine from Scotland

The guillotine in Vietnam

France brought the guillotine to Vietnam in the early 20th century


The answers to the most frequently asked questions.

The Donkmeer Museum

On display in Belare (Belgium), is a full-scale 1792 replica guillotine, based on the construction drawings from the Guillotine Headquarters.

Places of interest

A guide to places which were important in the history of the guillotine.