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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A trapdoor is a door set into a floor or ceiling (depending on what side of the door one is on). An exposed trapdoor could also be called a hatch, although hatches may not be necessarily horizontal. Many buildings with flat roofs have hatches that provide access to the roof; on ships, hatches provide access to the deck. A small door in a wall, floor or ceiling used to gain access to equipment is called an access hatch. Hidden trapdoors occasionally appear in fiction, either as entrances to secret passageways, or as literal traps into which a hapless pedestrian may fall if he or she happens to stand on one.

Most 19th and 20th century gallows featured a trapdoor, usually with two flaps. The victim was placed at the join. The edge of a trapdoor farthest from the hinge accelerates faster than gravity, so that the victim does not hit the flaps but falls freely.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Trapdoor" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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