Rodolphe Lindt, actually Rudolf Lindt, (July 16, 1855 – February 20, 1909), was a Swiss chocolate manufacturer and inventor. He founded the Lindt chocolate factory and invented the conching machine and other processes to improve the quality of chocolate.
Lindt was born in Berne to pharmacist and politician Johann Rudolf Lindt and his wife Armalia Eugenia Salchli. From 1873 to 1875 he had a training job in Lausanne with the Amédée Kohler & fils chocolate company. In 1879 he founded his own chocolate factory in the Mattequartier on the Aare in Bern.
In December 1879 he succeeded in improving the then moderate quality of chocolate by the development of the conching machine, a lengthwise stirring device which gives a finer consistency and lets undesired aromas evaporate. He was among the first chocolate makers to add cocoa butter back into the chocolate mass. These two innovations contributed greatly to the high quality of Swiss chocolate.
In 1899 Lindt sold his factory and the secret of conching to the Chocolat Sprüngli AG, who have traded as Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG since. Sprüngli paid 1.5 million Gold francs for the marketing rights and the recipe.
- Hans Rudolf Schmid (1985), "Lindt, Rudolf", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 14, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 616–617; (full text online)
- Alex Capus: Patriarchen: Zehn Portraits. Albrecht Knaus Verlag, München 2006, ISBN 3-813502-73-2