In old almanacs, sometimes a lowercase s looks like an f. What is the reason for this?
The ancient Latin alphabet consisted of the letter shapes still familiar to us today as the capital letters, and it is from this alphabet that the long s (which looks like an f) evolved. When these formal letters were written rapidly by the ancient Romans, they gradually took on different shapes, which we now take for granted as our lowercase letters. By the fifth or sixth century, the letter s was being represented in cursive writing in two forms — the long s and the short s. By the 18th century, it was the convention to use the long lowercase s at the beginning or in the middle of a word, but not at the end. Its demise came about because of a late-18th-century English printer who rejected the long s in favor of the short one because the latter was less liable to be confused with the letter f.