Canada’s state broadcaster told me recently that the French had to invent the guillotine. Why would they need to that when the Scots already had an almost identical device, known as The Maiden? What I suspect we have here is an information silo. Feed the information into the search engine and it tells you what it thinks you want to know. A bit like all these people whose social media feeds deluge them with bizarre conspiracy theories. The Maiden, a frame with a 75 pounds of lead weighted blade, was first used in Scotland in 1565 and remained in service until 1716. Similar devices had been used in Europe since at least 1539. Halifax in Yorkshire claims to have inspired The Maiden, though it is not clear when it when its version was first used. So, if Mr Guillotine did indeed invent the device which carries his name, it was a case of reinventing the wheel.
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