Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, an anatomy professor from Paris medical school, had designed the device in 1791 as one which could end life without inflicting pain.(Read more) Share
A unique mechanism involving a huge, slanted blade, pulleys and a hinged neck harness was effectively meant to cause instant death.
But this ‘humane’ approach was often called into question, with fears that the swift impact actually caused pain and suffering.
Decapitation was so swift, that the brain might take a few seconds to register decapitation, medics argued.
Post-mortems often revealed eyelids moving up and down, and that faces quivered.