Diderot's Lower Case

°ç   é   -'e 12345678
&bc   d    s¦f gh90
zlmni opqf|iffiken
xvutespacear .,quad

This French lay is that given in Diderot's Encyclopedia (1751-80) as the bas de casse. It is also shown in Bertrand-Quiquet: Traite de l'imprimerie (1798), and in Momoro: Traité élémentaire de l'imprimerie ou le manuel de l'imprimeur (1793) and Audin: Histoire de l'imprimerie par l'image (1929). Momoro shows the case without ae and oe and ' and - and also has ct instead of º and ; instead of k (which is put in the upper case). Audin shows one version as Diderot, and another as Momoro, but the latter also omits & and the illustration in his book has blotted out ct and the long s.

The equivalent haut de casse is Diderot Upper or Momoro Upper. Note that j is in the Upper, and é in the Lower. As the lower case w appears to be missing from both upper and lower cases, it could perhaps be put in the one empty box (where é would be if it were not in the lower case), or perhaps be combined with the small cap letter W.

The box |i is the long s with i ligature, etc. The en box is really labelled demi quadrats and the em box quadrats. French lays position i where English lays put h, and Oxford University Press continued this tradition. Like Moxon, Diderot has | f g (but then Moxon has |h and of course the h is in the English position).

The empty case configuration is Diderot and is not quite the same as English/US cases, eg the position of the ffi and k boxes, and also the é box.

Other empty cases
ie with the boxes left blank
Other type layouts
ie with characters assigned to boxes
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This page was written in 1997 by David Bolton and last updated 8 August 2013.