How did pioneers in the ‘Old West’ truly know what time it was? Did they monitor the hours and minutes? Furthermore, whose "time" was viewed as the "right" time in the numerous residential communities and ranches spread over the American West?
Modern nations depend on monitoring time and doing it precisely. The present nuclear checks that track time in millionths of seconds are evidence to that. Indeed, even the present day wristwatches and clocks found everywhere in your neighborhood stores are precise to a couple of minutes a year. Be that as it may, have you at any point thought about how somebody living in Wyoming, Nebraska, California, or Colorado would have known what time it was in the 1850’s?
Absolutely clocks and watches were by this time accessible to Westerners. Timekeepers had been around for a few centuries prior to 1850. People living by then in anyplace in the U.S. would have had watches and pendulum clocks at their homes which required enormous resources to acquire at the time.
So the lurking question was - who kept the "master timepiece," who figured out for the rest what the local time was? Finally, what was the time zone for towns or a farm located in a specific region? How did early residents keep such issues straight?
In the event that you speculated that time keeping in the ‘Old West’ was a great challenge, then you guessed it right. Keeping time during this time in the Old West was pretty chaotic and casual. According to an interesting book about ‘The Look of the Old West’ by a British writer in the 1950s, time zones never appeared in the East or the West until the point when the railways developed, spread all over the country and resulted in the standardization of time. Indeed, as indicated by that British author William Foster-Harris, the country kept running on agreed upon local time until the point when the impact of railroad led to the standardization of time in 1883. The national government henceforth affirmed their time zone set up thereafter.
But back in the 1850’s local time was determined at noon by the position of the midday sun, the time when the sun was directly overhead which could be determined by the time when you saw less of your shadow under the sun. Some communities at the time to indicate noon fired canons, rang a loud bell or let a large ball fall from the clock tower. People who had clocks at their homes or pocket watches used such indications to set their time right. Furthermore, in numerous towns all through the Old West there was a nearby jeweler who in most cases was glad to help set your watch for you.
Time zones were so chaotic in the 1850s, to a point that travelling a long journey implied changing your time about a minute for every nine or 10 miles east or west. The advent of railways definitely impacted transport across the US but also helped to standardize time and create awareness about how time changes across different time zones.