Rosetta Stone began with one man's quest for a better way to learn a language. Allen Stoltzfus began studying Russian in the 1980s, but became frustrated with his slow progress. Fortunately, he knew there was a better way to learn a language, through immersion, which he had experienced years earlier while studying in Germany. Allen's command of German was a direct result of being a part of the culture and the world of Germany, instead of sitting in a classroom. He immersed himself in the language, and discovered German the way he had acquired his first language…naturally and without translation.
And so, an idea was born. Allen envisioned using computer technology to simulate the way that people learn their native language—with pictures and sounds in context, and with no translation. Allen went to his brother-in-law, John Fairfield, who had a Ph.D. in computer science, to explore the possibilities. John loved the idea, but he and Allen had to wait until technology caught up with their vision.
That time came in 1992 when Fairfield Language Technologies was founded in Harrisonburg, Va, USA. Allen, the company's Chairman and President, recruited his brother, Eugene Stoltzfus, from the world of architecture to be the company's first Executive Vice President. Eugene also lent design expertise to the structural and visual components of the program, which quickly went from a dream to a reality.
In another flash of brilliance, Allen, John and Eugene called their product "Rosetta Stone" named after the artefact that had unlocked the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics for linguists. The name certainly fits, as Rosetta Stone software now unlocks language-learning success for millions of users worldwide.
Allen passed away in 2002, but his legacy of achievement and innovation inspires the company to this very day. Eugene filled the role of President and Chairman until the end of 2005. Tom Adams was named CEO in 2003 and with his innovative leadership and passion for language-learning, Tom has taken Rosetta Stone global. In 2006, the company was sold to investment firms ABS Capital Partners and Norwest Equity Partners, and was renamed after our signature product. The company became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (RST) in April 2009, providing language-learning solutions for more than 30 different languages in more than 150 countries.
Today, while Rosetta Stone still calls Virginia's stunning Shenandoah Valley home, the company now has offices all over the world, including London, Munich, Tokyo, Seoul, and Colorado. To meet the demands of being a growing global company, our executive offices are based in Washington, D.C.