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As a result of the rapid expansion of capital-intensive enterprises in the course of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, many businesses came to be operated as unincorporated associations or extended partnerships, with large numbers of members.
Nevertheless, membership of such associations was usually for a short term so their nature was constantly changing.
In the United States, they are known simply as joint-stock companies.
Important points Ownership of stock refers to a large number of privileges.
Around 1250 in France at Toulouse, 96 shares of the Société des Moulins du Bazacle, or Bazacle Milling Company were traded at a value that depended on the profitability of the mills the society owned, making it probably the first company of its kind in history.
The Swedish company Stora has documented a stock transfer for an eighth of the company (or more specifically, the mountain in which the copper resource was available) as early as 1288.
In more recent history, the earliest joint-stock company recognized in England was the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands, chartered in 1553 with 250 shareholders.
Meanwhile, the limit of their liability extends only to the face value of their shareholding.
The concept of limited liability largely accounts for the success of this form of business organization.