Chris Stern came to type casting through a combined love of typography and fine letterpress printing. He worked as a photo typesetter in Seattle for numerous service bureaus through the 1980s and ’90s. In 1986, Chris started Grey Spider Press with his first C&P which he moved into his apartment in Seattle. In 1994 he established Stern & Faye Printers with his partner Jules Remedios Faye in their renovated barn in the Skagit Valley. By this time his collection of letterpress equipment had grown significantly. And his interest in typography deepened as he became increasingly interested in reading typecasting manuals for pleasure.
Knowing he wanted to expand his love of printing from movable type, Chris purchased his first metal type caster in early 1995 from the Michigan Boys Technical School. He set aside a small corner of his shop to house the newly established foundry. He then attended the first annual Monotype University later that year. But shortly after meeting new friends at Monotype U, he was given the opportunity to acquire the type foundry from Tom Taylor of Bookways in Austin, Texas. Chris immediately went to work building a thousand square foot addition onto his barn to house his growing foundry. Like many who came to the industry in the past few decades, he continued acquiring machines from various sources whenever possible.
In the decade that Chris ran the foundry, he cast the type for and printed over two dozen books, several dozen broadsides, a number of complex typographic prints, and sundry other letterpress projects. His love of literature and his devotion to typography kept the casters cooking. He was in the midst of casting proofs for his typographic manifesto when he became too ill to continue his work.
When Chris died in the fall of 2006, his collection had grown to include 2 American composition casters, 1 English comp caster, 1 Orphan Annie, 1 Thompson, 1 Material Maker, 1 Giant Caster, and several keyboards, all in various states of repair and resurrection. His type library consisted of nearly 1,000 mat cases. This collection is now the core collection of the Museum of Metal Typography.