The device was perfected - though not invented- by Doctor Joseph Ignace Guillotin (1738 - 1814). The 'e' at the end of the noun is a later, British, addition. Ironically, he belonged to a movement seeking to abolish capital punishment altogether. Guillotine-like implements were used on delinquents from the nobility in Germany, Italy, Scotland and Persia long before the good doctor's era. Guillotin and German engineer and harpsichord maker, Tobias Schmidt, improved and industrialized it.