Saturable reactors?

 I've been spending some quality time reading through a fine old book of 
Magnetic Amplifier Engineering, by Attura, (c) 1959

Anyway - this book describes the basics of a little-known-today 
component called the saturable reactor.  Looks like if I had one I could 
build a quite-unkillable pig controller out of it!

Here's my question - I have access to several tape-wound transformer 
cores of the 220v 20amp variety (medical grade isolation xfmrs).  Does 
anyone have a clue if this core material would have the required 
"square" B-H curve required to make a decent mag amplifier?  I'd love to 
try this sometime, and am thinking this might be the time!  :)  It was 
also suggested that variac cores might be suitable for this - comments?

I'm also wondering if there'd be room to wind control windings around 
the shunts of a NST.  This would create another form of saturable 
reactor - similar to the large ones used in the TIG welders of the 
1970's and before...

-Always amazed at what our ancient predecessors were able to engineer!
-Bill (reverse engineering the world for my amusement)

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