The three pictures above and two below are Bobby Watson's lovely wife and car, from Shreeveport, Louisiana. Congratulations to Bobby Watson who became the proud father of a bouncing one-ton baby Shay on February 7, 2000. If you look at the photos of Bobby's car, you can see that each headlight has a little chrome hat with a red marble that glows when the lights are on at night. If you look at the car from the front, it looks sleepy. Bobby was wondering if these were some sort of "after-market" accessories sold in the thirties.
Well, Jim Boone offered this most interesting and colorful tale: "Bobby, I
believe I can solve your mystery. I have some really old photgraphs of my
grandmother's hometown. My grandfather was an amateur photographer and when he was dating "maw-maw" he was captivated by her hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, a seaport town on the Gulf coast. He, being from the Mid-West, had never seen a sure'nuff, wild'n wooley seaport town that catered to seamen, sailors and longshoremen, and the "others" who catered to the "manly" side of those men. So he decided to chronicle this way of life in pictures. According to his records, there were no less than 17 houses of ill repute rocking away in Port Arthur in the
early 30's. He set out to photograph each of the "houses" and their madams. They all drove sporty cars of course, as they were hardly "shy" types. Of the 17, . . . . . 9, (count'em, . . NINE) drove Model A Roadsters and loved to be photographed with them. Sedans and coupes just didn't quite fit their lifestyles. In each of the photos of those nine ladies of the night and their automobiles, . . . . . . . yes, . . . you guessed it, . . . .all the Roadsters sported headlight shades with little red jewels set in them so they glowed at night. Presumably, the ladies didn't want to miss any potential clients when they were out in the evening. Since at night, their customers couldn't see to recognize them personally . . . . the red jewels indicated their line of work and their intentions. I suppose you could say they sa-shayed around at night drumming up business. It's my guess that whoever first owned your Shay (and might I add, "Miss Rosie" is a fitting name) probably was a descendant of one of those ladies (not necessarily of Port Arthur fame) and in a fit of nostalgia and a yearning to "connect" with their past, rigged up Miss Rosie with red-jeweled headlight shades. The look you describe as "sleepy", in fact, could be referred to as "bedroom eyes". While I don't think these shades are "after-market" items, you could call them..... "marketing" accessories.