He was a student at the Universities of Vienna and Prague, afterwards serving as an assistant of physics at the Theresianum in Vienna. From 1816 until his death he was a professor of mechanical technology at the Polytechnic Institute in Vienna. Altmütter is remembered for his technical innovations and inventions, such as improvements for the fabrication of playing cards, a casting process for pinheads, production of terrestrial and celestial globes, and development of new tools, to name a few.
His extensive tool collection is now housed at the Technical Museum in Vienna.
Since 1892, the Altmüttergasse in the Alsergrund district of Vienna has been named in his honor.