Attorneys at law may form a partnership, or physicians, or musicians, in which no common capital is needed. Or a firm may borrow its capital, or conduct its business on credit. The use of a patent of no fixed value may be the total capital of a partnership, and the patented article may be manufactured for the partnership on a contract by which the cost of the manufacture is to be paid from the proceeds of the sales. Perhaps it is better to say that the time, labor, skill, and the use of property in which the title and the right of indeterminate possession is retained, when promised to the partnership business by partnership contract, form the consideration merely of the partnership contract, rather than to treat these things as constituting any portion of the capital of the firm. Speaking from the standpoint of legal rights in the case of loss or impairment or injury, in case of attachment or levy of execution, of mortgage or lien, or distribution on dissolution, these things are not the property or capital of the firm. They are rather contributions which aid in the accumulation of profits and are compensated by a share therein.1

One partner may put in the use of a patent, making no assignment to the firm; another the rent of a building, giving no lease; another his skill; another the use of his team of horses, the use of all these to terminate with the dissolution of the firm. The firm has no property therein: it does not own the patent, nor the building, nor the horses, nor the skill; it has merely a terminable contract right to the use of these while the firm continues to exist; and there is nothing to distribute or account for in case of dissolution.1

1 Lovett vs. Perry, 98 Va., 602; Shea vs. Donahue, 54 Am.

Rep., 407; Am. & Eng. Ency. of Law, 2nd Ed., Vol. 22, p. 86.

Members always add their credit to the firm's assets theoretically speaking, but the credit does not technically constitute capital. The capital of a firm consists of personal and real estate, money and goods, notes, bonds, leases, etc., contributed by the members to the firm assets, for the purpose of carrying on the firm business, and intended to be risked by them in such business.2 The capital of a firm is firm property in the power and disposition of the firm, liable to be taken on execution for firm debts, and returnable, but not in kind, on dissolution of the firm, to the original contributors, subject to contract stipulations and to rights on accounting.