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November 16th marks the passing of Carl von Linde. Linde was the German engineer who developed the mechanical refrigeration unit. He originally designed his industrial refrigerators for the German brewing industry. It requires cold temperatures to properly brew lagers and production was mostly limited to winter months or deep cellars and expensive ice blocks. Linde's refrigerators made brewing a year round process.

Linde was enough of an entrepreneur to recognize his process could be applied to other industries such as slaughterhouses and other food industries. His fortunes greatly increased when he improved his machines to continue cooling until the air itself liquefied. Linde could readily supply pure gases at great volumes for a low price. Liquid carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen are used for many purposes in today's society so he exchanged his patents for stocks and holdings in liquid gas companies in other countries to further expand his wealth. He continued research into different gases to improve efficiency of his units well into his sixties when he handed control of his business to his sons.

Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.


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