Linde is considered the founder of industrial refrigeration technology. He studied at the Zurich Polytechnic from 1861. In 1868 he became associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Munich Polytechnic School, and from 1872 full professor. Linde established the first machine laboratory in Munich, where Rudolf Diesel, among others, received training.
In 1871, he laid the foundations of his career with a publication on optimized refrigeration processes. He designed a refrigerating machine that worked with methyl ether, which he had manufactured at Maschinenfabrik Augsburg (now MAN AG).
European breweries were interested in Linde’s invention as they switched to bottom-fermented lager production, which required precise temperature management. The company quickly became the leader in Europe. In 1890, Linde withdrew from the operating business to become a member of the supervisory board. Along with Oskar von Miller and Walter von Dyck, Linde was one of the founders and sponsors of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.