French Lower Case

*ç   é   -'e 12345678
---bc   d    sesp
f gh90
zlmni opq;wk½cd
xvutespacear .,cad

The lay is that given in Legros & Grant: Typographical Printing Surfaces (1916). They do not state their source of the lay, and although they cite Lefevre on its disadvantages (Lefevre proposed an improvement that would reduce the compositor's hand travel distance by 8%), the lay is not that shown by Lefevre (see Bas de Casse), although it is presumably of French origin, given the names of the spacing. It differs only slightly from Lockwood's (1894) 18th Century and Old French case. For example, in the former, w replaces ; and ffi replaces w and in the latter w replaces ; and k replaces w and ; replaces k.

The case is also shown by Audin: Histoire de lImprimerie par l'Image (1929), and called La Lyonnaise. Legros and Grant's companion Upper case is Legros but Audin shows a different La Lyonnaise upper case.

Note that j is in the Upper, and é and ç in the Lower. Spacing is cadratin, demi cadratin, moyen and fine. The box with --- is for em dash (tiret). The Lower lay is similar to Diderot (1751) except that the long s has been dropped, and for example & has moved to the Upper and w to the Lower. Even as late as 1940, OUP still followed the French pattern of putting i in the box where English/U.S. lays put h.

The actual configuration is the same as Diderot, and differs from English/US cases, e.g. the style of the ; w k en and --- boxes, and the é box.

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ie with the boxes left blank
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This page was written in 2006 by David Bolton and last updated 2 August 2013.