How it works

A technical blueprint of "Madame Guillotine"


The Crossbar contains the release mechanism for the Mouton. A metal bar connects the Delic to the rocker arm. When pulled down it opens the jaws of the grab, and the Mouton falls down. Spring steel keeps the parts in the right position.

Mouton & Blade

The Mouton is a weight, which on four wheels, runs in the grooes of the uprights. The blade is attached to the mouton with three bolts. On the top of the mouton is a hook for the rope, and a spike with an arrowhead, which fits in the sprung grab. The mouton weighs 30kg, and the blade 7kg+ the three bolts, about 1kg each. It makes a total weight of 40kg.

Declic & Release Handle

The declic is the handle that the executioner pulls down to release the mouton. A metal bar that runs inside the upright connects the declic to the rocker arm in the crossbar.


This part of the guillotine is made of two wooden pieces, one fixed and one moveable. The lunette is copper lined at the side towards the blade.


At the start of the execution, this teeterboard stands in vertical position. The victim is pushed against it, and is tilted into horizontal position, face down with his neck in the lunette between the uprights.
On the side of the bascule is a sort of table which is also hinged to make it easy to pull the headless body into a big basket after the execution.

Guillotine Facts & Trivia