In the 1950s, no one that I knew of really cared much how tractors looked; they were machines for working. Tractor beauty was important for the dealers, but many farmers rarely washed their tractors. Mounted corn pickers, front mounted cultivators, loaders, hauling manure, etc. made new tractors look old quickly. Today's prettied up tractors (like I have done with my dad's H) would have astounded those old boys!
And in the late fall/early spring in the upper midwest the heat houser was very popular for all brands of tractors. The straps probably wore off the paint but keeping warm was paramount (there were very few cabs in those days, mostly home-made contraptions). And I don't recall a problem with shrinking/stretching due to moisture and cold; just adjust the straps.
Visability wasn't impaired very much, except the plastic windshield would get scratched up by quick wiping (with an old dry rag from the tool box) and driving into the sun could be a problem.
The only time the heat houser didn't work well was on a real windy day and you headed downwind; you would just open the throttle wide open and hope the fan would blast some warm air back to you. On warmer days it would get too hot while driving so we would just pull the front end of the houser back so the fan air would escape out the sides.
On very cold days (can you say "zero"?) when hauling loads of ear corn from the field, my body would be warm but my feet would get cold because there was a lot of unsealed area around the clutch and brake pedals. Of course, long underwear, 2 prs of jeans, 2 flannel shirts, a sweatshirt and a couple coats helped!
The man who drove the tractor with the mounted picker had to tough it out, but sometimes the haulers would trade jobs so he could survive the day.
The tractor that was used for clearing snow in the winter always had a heat houser.
I looked up the Burch Co. of Ft. Dodge, IA and I see that they still sell heat housers (also some canvas cabs now) for the old rear entry tractors; the price for a houser on an H is $352.75...a bargain when you are freezing.
No, I am not an employee or owner of the Burch Co., I just have fond memories of that nice warm air when picking corn or pushing snow in Iowa.
LA in WI