Lintsen has devoted his career to the development and institutionalisation of history of technology in the Netherlands. One of the highlights has been the establishment of the Foundation for the History of Technology – at Lintsen’s initiative – by the Koninklijk Instituut van Ingenieurs (KIvI) in 1988, which to this day remains the most important organization for domestic and international research programmes on the history of technology.
Lintsen has held numerous positions within Eindhoven University, including vice-dean of the Department of Technology Management, Chairman of the study programme committee and Chairman of the General Sciences Capacity Group. He also regularly serves outside Eindhoven, for example as a member on the Committee for the Heineken History Award, member of the Executive Council of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), and is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
Lintsen studied physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He graduated in 1972 with a specialty in physical technology. In the meantime Lintsen was a research assistant to Prof. Bert Broer. He continued to work in Eindhoven after graduation, being employed as an assistant professor in Science and Society, at the Department of Applied Science.
Between 1974 and 1978 Harry Lintsen worked on a PhD thesis on the rise and development of the engineering profession in The Netherlands in the 19th century. It was published in 1980 as Ingenieurs in Nederland in de 19e eeuw: Een streven naar erkenning en macht (Dutch engineers in the 19th century: The quest for recognition and power). Supervisors were Bert Broer, B.C. van Houten, and A.L. Mok.
In 1986 Lintsen was named Scientific Director of the Foundation for the History of Technology (Stichting Historie der Techniek), housed at Eindhoven University of Technology. He became full professor sharing his time between Eindhoven and Delft University of Technology in 1990. During the academic year 1994-1995 Lintsen was visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in the United States.