|In 2008 I travelled to the French town of St Pierre located on an island in the North Atlantic, 30 miles off the southern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. I went there to examine the only real guillotine in North America (at least to my knowledge) the so-called "Veuve de Saint Pierre".
Thanks to the very cooperative Museum management I was allowed unlimited access to the machine and I spent three days photographing, measuring and taking notes in order to capture every detail of the design. The guillotine is a "Berger" model built in 1889 along with five other guillotines for the French colonies & territories. It came to St Pierre in 1890, a year after the execution of Auguste Neel, and was never used.
When comparing my photos of this machine to the one used by Anatole Deibler between 1909 and 1939 (Photographed extensively in 1907) I cannot find any visible differences so I believe the two machines are identical. The machine was stored between 1889 and 1981, never used and probably never even assembled during that time, because there was no executioner residing in Saint Pierre. Therefore the machine is probably in "mint" original condition, contrary to other Berger guillotines which may have been modified and/or repaired over the years.
For nearly a year I have worked with a friend and fellow guillotine model builder, Yves Rossignol, to put all the information I collected into a complete set of guillotine construction drawings. Yves has now completed the drawings. They represent many hundreds of hours of analysis, design and drafting work. We had to verify that every detail worked, that measured dimensions added up and that the drawings ultimately matched the photographs. The result is 46 pages of 8.5" x 11" drawings detailing every aspect of the machine with its tub, shield and body basket. There are many hundreds of dimensions noted on the drawings, for example FIFTY dimensions on the left jaw of the mechanism grab alone!
Only a few details which are internal to parts that could not easily be taken apart are missing, such as the diameter and length of the mouton roller axles.
The drawings are a documentation of the actual guillotine of St Pierre and are not "model" drawings although a skilled model maker could use the drawings to build an exact replica of the machine. Dimensions are indicated in full scale and in metric units. Drawing legends are in English.
A sample of the drawings can be viewed below.
|This is, to my knowledge, the only complete set of drawings of a Berger guillotine. They are saved in an Adobe PDF format (Readable with Adobe Reader 7.0)
The fee for unlimited personal use of the drawings is US$99. This fee gives you the right to download one copy of the files to your computer and make one paper copy of them. You may not duplicate them for resale or gifting to third parties, nor are you allowed to send copies of the electronic files to third parties.
If you prefer a paper copy of the drawings one can be mailed to you for an additional US$12.
To purchase a copy please contact me by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
If you are interested in building a scale model of this machine from the drawings I can also sell you the various custom parts that I have developed for my models and which are described below. To arrange purchase of parts contact me at the same E-mail address.
|Part Description||Price||Photo||Set of fourteen (14) connecting bolts and fourteen (14) matching plates, machined from carbon steel and sized for a 1/6 scale Berger model. The bolt and plate threads are M4 x 0.7mm. The embedded plates accept either #1-64 or #2-56 attachment screws. One set of 14 is designed to be used on the 6 angle braces and on the post spacer bar.||$40.00||Set of five (5) custom-cast raw bronze parts designed to form a lunette release mechanism. This assembly fits a 1/6 scale Berger model. The complete assembly requires screws, pins and springs which are not included. Holes must be drilled and tapped in the bronze castings and they need to be polished and casting barbs need to be removed.||$45.00||The fully assembled and polished lunette release mechanism made from the five parts sold above with the required screws and springs.||$75.00||Set of four (4) raw cast bronze rollers for the 1/6 scale Berger mouton. Require final finishing. Axles not included.||$24.00||One 1/6 scale cast bronze pulley, copied on the real Berger pulley with its six petal-shaped spokes. Raw casting requires some filing and polishing to remove barbs and bring out the shiny bronze surface.||$30.00||Finished 1/6 scale cast bronze pulley on hand-forged and painted steel frame. Ready to install on Berger model. The frame is forged from a single piece of flat steel bar folded in five places, duplicating the fabrication method of the real frame.||$80.00||Set of two (2) custom-cast bolt heads for 1/6 scale Berger frame tension rods. Raw castings in white bronze require removal of barbs and polishing. Pilot hole needs to be bored out at tapped to accept #10-32 threaded tension rod.||$10.00||Set of release lever and release lever knob for 1/6 scale Berger model. Raw castings in white bronze require removal of barbs and polishing for finished look. Pilot hole in back of knob needs to be bored out at tapped to accept #1-64 screw.||$20.00||Set of two (2) springs for blade stop buffers on 1/6 scale Berger model. These springs are approximately 1/4" (6mm) diameter to fit a 1/6 scale blade track. They are also very strong and will withstand the impact of a heavy steel mouton. These can be purchased from a commercial spring supplier however they have minimum order limits which may require you to buy $50.00 worth of springs to get the pair you need.||$7.00||Set of one mechanism teeter bar in cast bronze and one pair of matching grab jaws in laser cut steel. The teeter bar is raw white bronze and requires removal of barbs and polishing for finished look. The grab jaws require machining of interlocking hubs and overlapping tips to be functional. The parts need to be mounted on a support plate and spring added for a fully functional mechanism.||$45.00||The fully assembled blade release mechanism made from the parts listed above with the required support plate, screws and springs.||$175.00||One custom cast mouton spike, made from white bronze. Raw casting requires some filing and polishing to remove barbs and bring out the final finish. To attach the spike to the mouton a hole needs to be drilled and tapped into the underside of the base.||$10.00||One 1/4 scale cast bronze pulley. Extremely accurate copy of the real Berger pulley with its six petal-shaped spokes. Raw casting requires some filing and polishing to remove barbs and bring out the shiny bronze surface. Approximately 56mm diameter.||$60.00||Set of two (2) springs for blade stop buffers on 1/4 scale Berger model. These springs are approximately 3/8" (9mm) diameter to fit a 1/4 scale blade track. They are also extremely strong and will withstand the impact of a 4-5 Lbs steel mouton without bottoming out. These can be purchased from a commercial spring supplier however they have minimum order limits which may require you to buy $50.00 worth of springs to get the pair you need.||$10.00||Set of four (4) long connecting bolts, machined from carbon steel and sized for a 1/6 scale Berger model. The bolt threads are M4 x 0.7mm. One pair is used to secure the chapiteau to the uprights, the other to connect the bascule support tay to the base.||$20.00||Set of six (6) T-bars, machined from carbon steel and sized for a 1/6 scale Berger model. The T-bars are straight bar stock and still need to be cut to length, bent and drilled to fit the model. This size T-bar is not commercially available so these have been custom machined for the 1/6 scale model.||$75.00||One complete hand-made head bucket for a 1/6 scale Berger model. Soldered from galvanized steel plate, with a rolled edge and two swivel handles.||$90.00||Set of release lever and release lever knob for 1/6 scale Berger model with cover plate and angle bracket. Lever & knob cast in white bronze. Plate & bracket made from carbon steel. Mounting screws not included.||$50.00||Upper lunette swivel handle for 1/6 scale Berger model. Custom cast bronze bracket with steel wire handle. Mounts with three #0-80 screws which are not included.||$10.00||One pair of custom cast bronze hinges used to secure posts to frame on 1/6 scale Berger model. Lower segment wraps around the base frame for extra strength. Each hinge to be secured with fifteen #2 screws which are not included. Hinge pins not included. Raw castings in white bronze require removal of barbs and polishing for finished look.||$90.00||One set of seven laser cut steel parts and 4 machined brass rollers needed to make one 1/6 scale Berger mouton. Pilot holes for all screws, bolts and shafts have been laser punched. All holes need to be drilled out and many need to be tapped with #0-80 tap or #2-56 tap. Shaft for rollers not included.||$70.00||Fully assembled mouton with brass rollers, vertical tension rods with nuts, cover plates secured with over fifty #0-80 machine screws. For 1/6 scale Berger model. Blade, spike and hook not included.||$220.00|