Pre-digital computer 'cranks out' Fourier TransformsWikipedia says about the Michelson–Morley experiment
Boffins get a handle on pre-digital computer, restore it to working order
A group of American engineers have rescued and returned to operation a Fourier-Transform-calculating machine designed in the 19th century.
The machinery is an impressive reminder not only of what could be achieved in the pre-digital era, but also of the genius of its designer Albert Michelson, a name less-known to the general public than contemporaries like Albert Einstein.
Michelson's best-remembered achievements are contributions to setting a value to the velocity of light, and in collaboration with Edward Morley, constructing the famous Michaelson-Morley experiment which both disproved the theory of the aether and helped lay down the basis of interferometry.
The extent to which the null result of the Michelson–Morley experiment influenced Einstein is disputed. Alluding to some statements of Einstein, many historians argue that it played no significant role in his path to special relativity,[A 24][A 25] while other statements of Einstein probably suggest that he was influenced by it.[A 26] In any case, the null result of the Michelson–Morley experiment helped the notion of the constancy of the speed of light gain widespread and rapid acceptance.[A 24]And similarly about Michelson:
There has been some historical controversy over whether Albert Einstein was aware of the Michelson-Morley results when he developed his theory of special relativity, which pronounced the aether to be "superfluous." In a later interview, Einstein said of the Michelson-Morley experiment, "I was not conscious it had influenced me directly... I guess I just took it for granted that it was true.“ Regardless of Einstein's specific knowledge, the experiment is today considered the canonical experiment in regards to showing the lack of a detectable aether.The controversy is easy to explain. Einstein clearly explains in 1909 that the experiment was crucial to Lorentz and FitzGerald in developing the relativity principle, the constancy of the speed of light principle, and the Lorentz transformations. Einstein also said that it had no direct role in his own work, as he did not cite it and may not have realized how important it was until 1909.
Einstein said in 1921 that he knew about Michelson's work as a student (before 1905), and he has acknowledged basing his 1905 paper on Lorentz's 1895 paper, which stressed the importance of Michelson's work. He surely also read other papers of Lorentz and Poincare that emphasized Michelson-Morley. So yes, it is safe to say that he knew about the experiment in 1905 to the extent that he knew that relativity theory had been based on it.
Special relativity textbooks commonly explain the crucial importance of Michelson-Morley to the development of the theory, but it had little to do with Einstein's work. Einstein's main point was to postulate what Lorentz had proved, and he did not need to bother with Lorentz's experimental evidence. Einstein just assumed that Lorentz and Poincare were correct in their interpretation of Michelson-Morley.