Over 700 finance terms, Shmooped to perfection.
These weren't broken at one time. Rather, "fixed assets" refers to assets that are "hard items" like property, plant and equipment. That is, these are assets that the company paid for in cash (99.999% of the time) and now carry an asset value on the company's balance sheet. These are also considered "non-current" assets as they aren't expiring soon.