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(1.) The guillotine is an instrument employed for the purpose of decapitation. It was officially introduced into France as the means of inflicting capital punishment in April, 1792. It was named after its reputed inventor, Dr. Joseph Ingace-Guillotin, who, contrary to popular belief, died a natural death, and not a victim of his own invention. The instrument consists of two upright posts held together at the top by a cross beam, the former being perpendicularly so grooved as to allow of the falling in a direct line a broad steel blade, whose edge is cut obliquely. The latter, sometimes weighted with lead, descends upon the neck of the criminal immediately after the cord which holds it up is released by the executioner. (2.) A guillotine is a machine, similar in name and in general construction to the above, employed by bookbinders. It is used for cutting paper and trimming the edges of books after the sheets have been sewn together.


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