The crystal and molecular structures of dimesitylketene (1) and bis(3,5‐dibromo‐2,4,6‐trimethylphenyl)ketene (2), the first free ketenes to be studied by X‐ray diffraction, have been determined. The molecules of 1 and 2 have crystallographic C1 and C2 symmetry, respectively, and exist in a propeller conformation. Molecular mechanics calculations of 1 and 2 using a modification of Allinger's new allene parameters reproduce satisfactorily the structural parameters of the ketenes. The torsional angles of the aryl rings in 1 and 2 are similar (ca. 50°) and are regarded as ‘intrinsic’ values for a 1,1‐dimesitylvinyl propeller. From the similarity in aryl torsional angles in 1 and 2 it is concluded that the buttressing effects in 2 (if any) are not markedly manifested in the structural parameters of 2.