By the late 1800s, capital was flowing freely enough that all the measures that had been used to make shares "affordable" were no longer needed, and new shares were issued ata u100 and the whole system of downpayments, fractional shares, and other half-measures weren't necessary anymore.
Nevertheless, there was a final interesting phenomenon which occurred in London to make shares more accessible to the public.a When the bull market of the 1920s occurred, the high price of stocks kept most shareholders out of the market, even though punters wanted in.a Companies found a quick solution to making their shares more liquid and bringing in more capital.
In the US, companies would split their stocks 4:1 or 5:1 as the price rose to make the shares more affordable, and speculators could go to bucket shops to trade on margin, but in London, shares were sometimes split 100:1 to get the par value down from u100 to u1, and there are even cases of stocks splitting 400:1 to get the par value down to 5 shillings (or about $1).a This helped to feed the bull market in stocks in London, but as we all know, the 1920s bull market ended in the crash of the Great Depression, though stocks fell around 50% in London, as opposed to 90% in the United States.
The bottom line is, companies will always find a way to make their shares available to the public to raise money and maintain liquidity in their stocks.a Some may criticize high-frequency trading, but it has made the markets more liquid.a It is easier and cheaper to trade odd lots than ever, so if you only want to buy 10 shares of Google, then do so.a Markets have always accommodated investors, and always will.
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