It was through the good offices of a sword-swallower that the Scotch physician, Dr.
Edward Stevens, was enabled to make his experiments on digestion in 1777. 1777 Stevens graduated with his MD at the University of Edinburgh with his thesis paper in Latin "Dissertatio inauguralis de alimentorum concoctione" (1777). Stevens had a sword swallower swallow small metallic tubes pierced with holes.
By the mid-17th century, performers wandered more freely and became common sights on street corners and at festivals across Europe.
Sword swallowing began to die out in Europe and Scandinavia in the late 1800s, when variety shows were formally outlawed in Sweden in 1893.
According to the 1981 Census, their population was 141,374.