The name of a class of types, which, as the appellation implies, is an imitation of writing. The French call it Anglaise.
There is no character connected with our language on which so much labour has been expended within the last twenty-five years as on this. The old Scripts were so notoriously stiff and formal, that they could hardly be said to bear any other resemblance to writing than in the mere shapes of the letters; these were cast on a square shank, with all the ascenders and descenders hanging over the body, which is styled kerned. These kerned letters, having no support, were liable on pressure to break off, and the fount became so disfigured thereby that the use of Script was abandoned by almost common consent. In 1815 Messrs. Firmin Didot and Sons introduced a new Script, cut with great freedom, and cast on a rhomboidal shank, with triangular blocks having a corresponding angle on one side, and the other two sides forming a right angle, with which to justify the beginnings and endings of lines. In order to enable the printer to form complete words without any apparent junction, a great number of parts of letters, parts of common words, and double letters, were added to the regular alphabet; thus encumbering the plan with such a variety of sorts that it required great care, and was very tedious to compose correctly.
This plan was very popular on the Continent, and almost universally adopted; and so much importance was attached to it that Messrs. Didot and Sons took out an English patent for it, which they attempted to enforce against the letter founders of this country a few years afterwards, but which was resisted, and the claim to invention abandoned.
Since 1820 the English letter founders have produced a variety of beautiful Scripts of different sizes, but generally a modification of the French rhomboidal body plan; still the difficulty of composition remained to a great extent, and materially detracted from its general utility.
Within the last five years a further improvement has been made by the introduction of a new square-bodied Script, for which we are also indebted to French artists, Messrs. Laurent and Deberney, who have given it the name of Américain, which is so beautifully cut, and managed, that the effect of the whole, when well worked, is excellent.
The kern, instead of being unsupported, is protected by the shank of the letter, having two angles thus thrown out at the head of the two opposite corners of the body, so as to give support to both ascenders and descenders; the opposite angles of the letters are cast with a corresponding slope to receive the hanging over letters without their incurring any danger of riding upon each other.
This plan obviates all the difficulties of the two former ones, and requires only a pair of common cases. It is easily composed, and there is not more risk of damage than attends the working of any other description of delicate type. The sizes of this Script at present in the trade are Canon, Two Lines English, Two Lines Pica, Great Primer, and Pica.
The sorts marked with 1 are cast thin, for joining with the letters which commence with a junction stroke, as m, n, r, v, w, x, y, z, and the compounds commencing with those letters. Those marked with 2 and distinguished
by an extra nick, are cast thick, to go before a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, k, l, o, p, q, t, u, &c.