The old-fashioned "long" s

Is there any way to produce this symbol (discussed by Cecil in the original Straight Dope book) on a computer?
My sister, who took high-school biology in 1968, had a textbook which printed a 17th-Century paper on the matter of cells in cork. The last sentence of regular text before this reprint was: “The type is quaint, but once you notice that an s is often much like an f, you fhould have little trouble reading it.”

ƒ - Is this the character you are asking for, Dougie? If so, merely hold down the alt key while typing 0131 and then release the alt key.

That’s actually not quite it, Uncle B.

That’s just an italic “f”. The elongated s, the cross-bar only goes half-way through (that’s how you can tell it from an f). I don’t know how to do it on standard keyboard, I think you’d need special font.

The symbol looks like a traditional typesetter’s italic f, but what shows up when you italicize an f on the computer is different.

italic f / alt + 0131
f / ƒ

It appears to be essentially the same as the symbol used (in the symbol font) to indicate a mathematical function, as in y = ƒ(x).

Cecil’s column is here: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_110.html

In my experience the long s ususally has neither crossbar nor nubbin. It looks rather like the integral sign in mathematics. I can’t find a way to make a one-character integral sign on the computer though. The symbol font only has the top and bottom parts, that you have to put together on two lines.

Not necessarily, Bibliophage. I’ll go along with Cecil on this one. If you look at the original layout of the document “The Bill of Rights,” you’ll note that the line reads “Congrefs of the United States.” There is a cross stroke on the “long s.”

You will note that Cecil said “even to the extent of having a little nubbin … sometimes” [my bolding]. I said that in my experience the long “s” usually has neither nubbin nor crossbar. I don’t think there’s any contradiction between what he said and what I said. An example of the long “s” without a nubbin or crossbar can be seen here