When was the first Blender version released? I have been an avid user of blender for a few years but I still have not found out how long it has been around. I not only would like to know when it was released but try to run it. If someone could provide a link that would be great.
Edit 2 January 2019: apparently the birth date reported in the blender's Foundation site was 1 year off: blender has actually just celebrated its 25th birthday. In the video you'll also find some old school blender.
Blender was first created in 1995, but it wasn't free and open source back then.
It became free thanks to a crowfounding campaign in 2002, when the first version was released to the public.
Judging by the source repository on the website the first ever open release is probably Blender 2.26, available here. In the releases repository you can find versions as old as Blender 1.0! I doubt you'll be able to use it though, it's just for IRIX.
If you can't get old versions to work, there is somebody on Youtube that in 2014 tried to go back in time, reporting on their experiments: Blender 2.40, Blender 2.27, Blender 1.80. Then he said «I probably do not want to continue to Blender 1.60, because in this version, I cannot save files.»