John Oakey who was born in 1814 founded John Oakey & Sons Ltd in 1833. As an apprentice to piano manufacturers one of his tasks was to prepare sanded paper to rub down the wood and coatings. Pages from old account books were coated with glue and then sand or powered glass was sifted over them. Oakey acquired a secret process that made the coatings bond firmly to the paper and his business was based on this process.
In other words, build a better sandpaper, and the world will line up outside your door to bow and..er…scrape. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Oh, and do the math: he founded this business, still a going concern today, when he was just 19 years old. Not bad.