The School of Piano Technology for the Blind was founded as the Piano Hospital and Training Center in 1949 by Emil B. Fries, who learned to tune pianos as a student of Walter R. Dry at the Washington State School for the Blind. Later, while studying pre-law at the University of Washington, Mr. Fries realized that his deepest interest lay in teaching. Supporting himself by tuning, he earned his Bachelor's degree and did graduate work before returning to Vancouver in 1931 to succeed Walter Dry as head of the WSSB piano tuning department. He taught there until 1949, when WSSB phased out vocational courses, including piano tuning. Determined to maintain piano tuning as a career opportunity for blind people, Emil Fries founded the Piano Hospital. In 1966 he formed a nonprofit corporation to ensure that the Piano Hospital would continue to fulfill its purpose in the future. The Board of Trustees later changed the school's name to the Emil Fries Piano Hospital and Training Center, in honor of the man who, more than any other individual developed and taught the specialized skills that enable blind tuner-technicians to be successful.
In 1992 the Piano Hospital became licensed by the State of Washington as a technical school. In 1993 the Piano Hospital earned accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. In 1997 the Board determined the name " Emil Fries Piano Hospital d.b.a. Emil Fries School of Piano Tuning and Technology," as more descriptive of our mission. In 2005, there was still further clarification of our purpose when the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to change our name to The School of Piano Technology for the Blind. Students have come from all over the United States plus Guam and the American Virgin Islands, as well as from Australia, Belize, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, Iceland, India, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Switzerland and Trinidad, to study the practical curriculum and uniquely adapted techniques at the School of Piano Technology for the Blind.