Empty French Lower Case


This French configuration matches the Bas de Casse in Diderot's Encyclopedia (1751-80), and Lefevre: Guide Practique du Compositeur d'Imprimerie (1880, reprinted Gregg 1972), and Lockwood: American Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking (1894), and Muller: Nouveau Manuel de Typographie (c1910), and Legros & Grant: Typographical Printing-Surfaces (1916). It is the same as the Belgian French Lower of Dumont: Vade-Mecum du Typographe (1915), apart from Dumont having two less small boxes. The case has slightly altered from the earlier Lower of Fertel in 1723, simply by dividing the box above the d box, and not dividing the box to the left of the v box.

The case is also shown in Bertrand-Quinquet: Traite de l'Imprimerie (1798) and again in Audin: Histoire de l'Imprimerie par l'Image (1929). All three books show two upper and two lower cases on a single stand. However, the lower cases shown do not quite match the actual lay also shown on the same page (by Diderot and Bertrand-Quinquet). All three show the case on the right with one extra divided box (where q would go), and Bertrand-Quinquet and Audin show the case on the left with two less divided boxes (where 0 9 ae oe should go). One presumes this to be a mistake by the engraver. Interestingly, Audin's further plate, of the Encylopaedia case, shows the two lower cases with the left and right bays reversed, again presumably a fault of the engraver.

Diderot's lay is Diderot Lower, and the lay of the haut de casse is Diderot Upper. Muller's lay is French Lower and Dumont's is Belgian French Lower.

The case has 54 boxes but the configuration is not quite the same as Castillon's case of 1783, although they both have the same number of boxes.

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ie with the boxes left blank
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This page was written in 1997 by David Bolton and last updated 2 August 2013.