I have a picture of Mario Ricci at the 1949 TdF using a shorty, so they were still around then, even if not common. I'll check the rest of the magazines tonight to see if there are any later pics with shortys.
Using the shorty might help keep some of the dust, dirt, mud and brake dust off of your face, bar-mounted waterbottles, and headset bearings. I've noticed on my old bikes with old brake pads that quite a bit of brake dust ends up on the lower front of the headtube/headset... dust dirt and mud roads would probably be even worse.
Tell you what - as an experiment I'll clean a shorty, mount it on the Learco Guerra, and ride on the dirt and gravel section of bike trail near my home for a week. I'll take a pic of what filth the bike collects (I won't remove the bar-mounted bottle during the tests), then repeat the process without the shorty, take another pic, and post the results.
Blue Ball, Ohio
> I noticed that the rider at the front of this group (either
> Jules Lowie or Vervaecke, depending on whether Aldo was listing
> then right-to-left or vice versa) has a "mini fender" mounted
> over his front wheel. They are regularly deprecated and
> described as useless. Nevertheless, I've often seen them in
> race photos from this period and even on a couple of older
> unrestored bikes.
> So the question is, when was the use of the short
> fender/mudguard totally abandoned on racing bikes? Also,
> considering the direction in which a tire rotates, are there
> _any_ circumstances in which they served a useful purpose?
> Fred Rednor - Arlington, Virginia
> --- Aldo Ross <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Pic of the Day
> > 25th May
> > Belgian Chase
> > (Morgan Fletcher has been kind enough to provide space on his
> > server for
> > "Pic of the Day". This should provide a steady alternative
> > for archiving
> > these pics. Thanks Morgan!)
> > http://www.birfield.com/nuke/modules/gallery/album17/Belge35
> > Tour de France, 1935, stage 16.
> > Alarm in the Belgian team as Jules Lowie (individuel),
> > Sylvere Maes, Romain
> > Maes, and Felicien Vervaecke try to chase-down Italians
> > Ambrogio Morelli and
> > Orlando Teani.
> > >From "Le Miroir Des Sports" No840, 25 Juillet 1935.
> > Aldo Ross
> > Blue Ball, Ohio