Structure for execution by hanging / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A gallows (or less precisely scaffold) is a frame or elevated beam, typically wooden, from which objects can be suspended or "weighed". Gallows were thus widely used to suspend public weighing scales for large and heavy objects such as sacks of grain or minerals, usually positioned in markets or toll gates. The term was also used for a projecting framework from which a ship's anchor might be raised so it is no longer sitting on the seabed, riverbed or dock; "weighing [the] anchor" meant raising it using this apparatus while avoiding striking the ship's hull.

Unidentified men wait at the gallows before execution of Melquiades Chapa and Jose Buenrostro on May 19, 1916, in Brownsville, Texas.
Illutration of hanging during the Thirty Years' War
These gallows in Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park are maintained for historical purposes by Arizona State Parks.
New Drop gallows in Rutland County Museum
Execution of Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt on July 7, 1865, after trapdoor has been sprung, at Fort McNair, in Washington

In modern usage the term has come to mean almost exclusively a scaffold or gibbet used for execution by hanging.