'old English'

Can anyone tell me when the odd use of substitute lettering 'f' was dropped in favour of current 's' please? eg. 'gloffary' which currently is 'glossary'.....Thanking you in anticipation.
20:17 Wed 08th Feb 2012
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It is not aberrant. It is simply a matter of writing. It was not an F, either, but the common form of S as it was written quite normally in the Middle Ages. If it looks like an F, look carefully - it does not have a stroke across it . This appears in Gothic script, which gave way to a more legible script before 1450 ( before the invention of printing with movable type)
The later Humanist script, on which most early print founts were based , had a curved "s"
Question Author
Thank you for your knowledgable response atalanta....
Like all these things, you're looking at the spread of fashions, but it's usually the case that the curly s isn't found after 1800.
oh damn - curly 's' prevails after 1800.
It was used in Fraktur, the old German gothic typeface, until WW2, when Hitler abolished it.

"If it looks like an F, look carefully - it does not have a stroke across it"

The long s is subject to confusion with the lower case (or minuscule) f, sometimes even having an f-like nub at its middle, but on the left side only, in various roman typefaces and in blackletter.

"This appears in Gothic script, which gave way to a more legible script before 1450"

The long s fell out of use in roman and italic typefaces well before the middle of the 19th century. In Spain the change was mainly accomplished between the years 1760 and 1766; in France, the change occurred between 1782 and 1793; in Britain and the United States, between 1795 and 1810.

Despite its disappearance from printed works, in England the long s survived in handwriting into the 1860s.
Question Author
ABerrant - thank you for your extensive info. Quite surprising to note that the extended s was used right up to the 1860s. I found it amusing to substitute the s for an f sound! Thanking you again.

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